UPS announced adjusted better-than-expected earnings this week for the fourth quarter of 2010.
The company reported diluted earnings per share of $1.08 a 44 percent improvement over the prior-year period. Global revenue grew 8.4 percent, generating $1.8 billion in adjusted operating profit, a 40 percent increase.

On a reported basis, diluted earnings per share totaled $1.11, a 48 percent increase over the $0.75 reported for the same period last year. During the quarter, UPS recorded a net after-tax gain of $32 million related to the sale of certain non-core business units.

For the full year 2010, the company delivered 3.9 billion packages, an average of 15.6 million per day. Revenue increased 9.4% to $49.5 billion. Adjusted operating profit soared 47% to $5.8 billion with the International and Supply Chain & Freight segments achieving record-setting levels, generating $1.9 billion and $577 million, respectively. On a reported basis, operating profit for the year was $5.9 billion, up 55%. Adjusted diluted earnings per share were $3.56, up 54%, and $3.48 on a reported basis, up 63%.

"UPS again demonstrated exceptional earnings growth by leveraging the strength of its network to provide solutions for customers," said Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO. "I'm encouraged by the opportunities we see in 2011 as UPS continues to expand into emerging markets while demonstrating the power of the logistics capabilities we've built worldwide."

Based on expectations for 2011, UPS is providing annual guidance for diluted earnings per share to a range of $4.12-to-$4.35, an increase of 16-to-22% over 2010 adjusted results. This would exceed the peak earnings level recorded in 2007.

UPS Freight outpaced the market with revenue up 23% due to double-digit growth in shipments per day, an increase in gross weight hauled and significant yield improvement. Forwarding and Logistics revenue increased 10.1% to $1.6 billion, driven primarily by revenue management initiatives in the Forwarding business unit.

"The fourth quarter results punctuate a year in which UPSers superbly executed our strategy," said Kurt Kuehn, UPS's chief financial officer. "As we close the book on 2010 and look towards 2011, UPS is uniquely positioned for growth in the future.

"Over the past two years, UPS took the necessary steps to weather the economic storm and emerged stronger," Kuehn continued. "As a result, we expect to exceed previous peak earnings level with 2011 diluted earnings per share within a range of $4.12 to $4.35, an increase of 16% to 22% over adjusted 2010 results."