AP News

CH Robinson's shares down on 4Q miss

NEW YORK (AP) — C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc.'s stock fell on Wednesday, a day after the trucking company reported fourth-quarter results that missed Wall Street estimates.

On Tuesday, the Minneapolis-based company reported earnings slid 64 percent to $93 million, or 62 cents per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $256.4 million, or $1.58 per share, in the year-earlier period. For the 2012 quarter, results benefited from an asset sale. Excluding that business, 2012 adjusted profit was $106.6 million, or 66 cents per share.

Revenue rose 6.1 percent to $3.15 billion, up from $2.9 billion.

Analysts had expected earnings per share of 68 cents on revenue of $3.26 billion, according to FactSet.

John G. Larkin, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus, wrote in a note that the quarter marked the sixth in a row that C.H. Robinson's profit was below Wall Street estimates. He said that he is reducing his earnings-per-share estimates for the current and next year by a nickel, to $2.80 and $3.05, respectively.

Analysts expect earnings of $2.98 per share for 2014 and $3.27 per share for 2015, on average.

Larkin reiterated a "Sell" rating on the stock.

Christian Wetherbee, an analyst at Citi Research, noted that "Robinson appears stuck in a position in which an improving brokerage market is still not resulting in improving financial performance given operating expense pressure, primarily from personnel."

Adjusted personnel costs rose 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, primarily because of a 32 percent acquisition-related increase in headcount.

Wetherbee lowered his profit estimates by 5 percent each for 2014, to $2.85 per share, and for 2015, to $3.15 per share.

Shares of C.H.'s Robinson fell more than 9 percent, or $5.35, to $53.29 in midday trading.

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