UTi beats expectations, but profits down over last year

Long Beachbased logistics firm UTi Worldwide reported an $18 million fourthquarter profit Thursday after factoring out restructuring charges.

The firm, which trimmed the forecast for its justended fiscal year twice since September 2007, said it fourthquarter profit was down from $22.5 million, or 22 cents per share, in the year ago period.

Without factoring $6.2 million in restructuring charges, UTi's net income would have been $24.2 million.

UTi reported fourth quarter gross rose 24.5 percent to $1.18 billion from $951.3 million in the same quarter last year.

Our costs have grown at a faster pace than net revenue, which along with yield pressure, has led to lower operating margins," Chief Executive Roger MacFarlane said in a press release.

When announcing it was cutting its fiscal year forecast in February, the firm said it would implement costcutting steps such as exiting the retail distribution business in Africa, ending lossmaking contracts and trimming 7 percent from its global workforce.

While we have begun to see some benefit from these actions, we expect most of the improvement will begin to be seen in the second half of fiscal 2009," MacFarlane said.

UTi's 2008 fiscal year ended Jan. 31.

The firm will also be restating its fiscal year results that ended Jan. 31, 2007 due to accounting errors.

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