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Roy C. Liljebeck (206) 281-1003
SEATTLE -- July 28, 1997
Airborne Freight Corporation (NYSE: ABF), which operates under the trade name Airborne Express, today reported record quarterly earnings for the second quarter that are significantly ahead of expectations, and recent quarterly results. Net earnings were $28,287,000, or $1.30 per share, $1.17 per share on a fully diluted basis, for the second quarter ended June 30, 1997. This compares to net earnings of $10,621,000, or $.50 per share, $.48 per share on a fully diluted basis, for the same period last year.

Total revenues for the second quarter were $712,784,000, an increase of 14.5 percent over 1996 second quarter revenues of $622,398,000. Domestic revenues of $611,999,000 were 17 percent higher than 1996 domestic revenues of $524,055,000. International revenues increased 2.5 percent to $100,785,000 versus last year’s international revenues of $98,343,000.

Net earnings for the first six months of 1997 were $42,661,000, or $1.97 per share, $1.78 per share on a fully diluted basis, versus $11,867,000, or $.56 per share for 1996. Total revenues for the first six months of 1997 were 12 percent higher at $1,368,306,000, compared to $1,220,307,000 for the same six month period in 1996. Domestic revenues were $1,174,110,000, an increase of 14 percent over 1996 revenues of $1,030,176,000. International revenues for this period reached $194,196,000, 2 percent higher than 1996 international revenues of $190,131,000.

Airborne’s total number of shipments for second quarter 1997 increased 15 percent to 74,134,000, versus 64,562,000 in second quarter 1996. Domestic shipments reached 72,741,000, an increase of 15 percent over last year’s shipments of 63,283,000. International shipments gained 9 percent to reach 1,393,000 compared to 1,279,000 for the same period in 1996. Total shipments for the first six months of 1997 were 143,117,000, up 11.5 percent over 128,210,000 reported in 1996.

"The company is obviously very pleased with the record quarterly results for the period ending June 30," said Airborne’s Chief Financial Officer Roy Liljebeck. "Domestic shipment growth was very strong, increasing 15 percent in the quarter, with the higher-yielding overnight product increasing 17 percent. A combination of the higher growth in the overnight product and a fuel surcharge that was in place for all of the second quarter resulted in a domestic revenue growth rate of 17 percent, higher than the overall growth rate in domestic shipments," continued Liljebeck. "The fuel surcharge, which was terminated July 1, generated $10,592,000 in the second quarter.

"With the higher growth rate in shipments for the quarter, productivity, as measured by shipments handled per paid employee hour, increased 9 percent, the strongest improvement in several years. The improvement, along with continued emphasis on cost control, resulted in an improved operating cost per shipment of 4 percent for the quarter. The resulting operating margin of 7.7 percent was the best in a number of years," concluded Liljebeck.

For more than 50 years, Airborne Express has served shipping needs of business customers around the world. Today, Airborne offers total distribution solutions by providing time-sensitive delivery of documents, letters, small packages, and freight to virtually every U.S. ZIP code and more than 200 countries. Customers can select from a variety of services including same-day, next-morning, next-afternoon or second-day delivery, ocean service, and logistics management.


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