FedEx cutting costs, withdraws 2023 guidance after first-quarter shipments disappoint

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FedEx on Thursday withdrew its full-year guidance and announced significant cost-cutting measures following what it called softness in global volume of shipments.

“Global volumes declined as macroeconomic trends significantly worsened later in the quarter, both internationally and in the U.S.,” CEO Raj Subramaniam said in the release. “While this performance is disappointing, we are aggressively accelerating cost reduction efforts.”

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In an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Mad Money, Subramaniam said he expects the economy to enter a “worldwide recession.”

As part of these cost-cutting initiatives, FedEx will close 90 office locations, close five corporate office facilities, defer hiring efforts, reduce flights and cancel projects.

FedEx stock fell about 12% in extended trading Thursday.

The updates come alongside fiscal first-quarter earnings that fell well short of Wall Street expectations. The company was scheduled to release results and hold a conference call with executives next week, but issued the report early.

Here’s how FedEx performed in the period, ended Aug. 31, based on Refinitiv consensus estimates:

  • Earnings per share: $3.44, adjusted vs. $5.14 expected
  • Revenue: $23.2 billion vs. $23.59 billion expected

The performance led FedEx to withdraw its full-year forecast that was set in June, citing a volatile environment that precluded prediction. The company reduced its forecast for capital expenditure for the year by $500 million to $6.3 billion.

The company cited specific weakness in Asia as well as challenges to service in Europe for its underperformance in the first quarter. While these factors choked shipping volume, the company said operating expenses remained high. FedEx reported an adjusted operating income of $1.23 billion.

For its fiscal second quarter the company expects adjusted earnings per share of at least $2.75 on revenue of between $23.5 billion to $24 billion. Wall Street analysts were looking for Q2 EPS of $5.48 and revenue of $24.86 billion, according to Refinitiv.

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