The package delivery giant United Parcel Service reported a final quarter net loss of $244m in 2016. Revenue increased by five per cent, up to $16.93bn.
Dividends totaling $2.8bn were paid in 2016, which also saw 25.5m shares repurchased by UPS for roughly $2.7bn.
Reduced revenue in the domestic US package business was partly to blame for the loss, along with a pension charge and infrastructure investments.
Profits were hit by a charge made out to the company’s defined benefit pension programme for UPS employees. UPS sets aside extra cash when the long-term obligations of its pensions are not fully-funded.
UPS said they “experienced a significant shift in product mix during the quarter”, with business to customer package deliveries up by 11.5 per cent on 2015. Total deliveries to residential addresses were at an all time high of 63 per cent of the company’s total operations.
A total of 712 million packages were shipped by UPS services during the company’s peak season, representing an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year.
UPS chief executive officer David Abney told analysts that UPS “believe[s] a key to continued global economic growth is the expansion of free trade” and attributed the business’s international success to a string of trade deals.
UPS had been a strong proponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 12-nation trade deal that President Trump has committed to leaving.