FedEx 4Q profit drops as priority services lag

DALLAS – FedEx Corp.’s fourth-quarter profit fell 45 percent as international customers traded down to less-expensive delivery options and the company spent heavily on restructuring. FedEx said 3,600 employees will take voluntary buyouts and nearly half of them have already left. The company is also retiring older airplanes.

Excluding charges related to those moves, FedEx’s results still beat Wall Street expectations. But the company’s profit forecast for the next 12 months was less than analysts predicted.

After falling briefly, FedEx shares rose $2.33 to $101.81 in afternoon trading. Its shares have fallen 7 percent since their peak for the past year of $109.55 in mid-March. FedEx executives said that their ground-services business remained strong and margins improved in the freight business, but that didn’t fully offset weak global economic growth and a decline in priority international air shipments.