TNT Express reported 4Q12 group revenues of € 1,864m (kbcs € 1,894m; css 1,911) with Underlying EBIT came at € 49m (kbcs € 62m, € 63m css), split as € 73m EMEA (kbcs € 74m; € 76m css), € 1m AsPac (kbcs € 8m), € -20m Americas (kbcs € -18m) (o.w. -15m Brazil), € 0m Other Networks (kbcs € 5m) and € -5m Non-Allocated (kbcs € -7). Operating Cash Flow came in at € 172m (kbcs € 74m), because of lower taxed paid and good working capital management. Cash From Investing Activities came in at € -66m (kbcs € -29m) and year end net debt at € -139m (kbcs € -109m).
Preliminary Outlook for 2013:
Management intends to provide a full strategy update on 25 March 2013. As a preliminary guidance they state that trading conditions are foreseen to remain challenging in 2013 in EMEA, that AsPac and Other Americas (ex Brazil) are expected to perform in-line with prior year while Other Networks profitability will be affected by the discontinuation of a major Fashion contract. Brazil should see its losses reduced.
EMEA not in best shape, cost initiatives need to be announced:
Absent of a strategic update on 25 March, and given the possible divestures of Domestic China andBrazil, we believe all attention will go to the prospects of the EMEA activities. Although average consignments per day are above 2008 levels when EMEA margins were sitting comfortably above 8% vs. 6.2% end FY12, revenues per consignment and per kilo are respectively 16% and 8% below 2008. This reflects both weakness in base prices and an adverse product and client mix development, a trend which management expects to continue over 2013. At the March 25 “Full strategy update” we expect management to announce how it will tackle the air capacity on the Europe to Asia lines, furthermore disclosing an intense cost savings programme for EMEA.
While EMEA underlying EBIT came in in-line with exp. management clearly remains cautious and sees continued negative development of results in EMEA over 2013. Americas (incl. Brazil) is bottoming-out but AsPac and Other Networks were clearly below exp. Management took a € 75m goodwill impairment on Domestic China with further aircraft and India impairments. The announcement that they will seek divestment opportunities for Brazil and an outcome on the divestment process for Domestic China will be announced soon, could be well received as it should be Eps accretive and free-up management time. On the other hand we wonder what price will be paid given the recent aggressive goodwill impairments at both divisions.
Overall, we are not impressed by the 4Q12 results and believe profitability of the main division EMEA remains worrying, despite the in-line 4Q12 underlying results. Amid a weak macro environment, and the self-help measures in place, we stick to our Hold rating on TNT Express. A conference call / webcast is scheduled at 14.00CET. A Strategic Update will be provided on 25 March 2013.