Why Have XPO Logistics Shares Fallen Over 50% Since October?

Issues in Europe and declining business from its largest customer have punished XPO Logistics' stock in recent months.

Motley Fool Staff
Motley Fool Staff
Mar 4, 2019 at 12:47PM
Energy, Materials, and Utilities

After enjoying rapid price appreciation over the past five years, XPO Logistics (NYSE:XPO) shares have fallen back to earth in recent months. What was behind this slide in share price?

In this segment from The Motley Fool's Industry Focus: Energy podcast, MFAM Funds portfolio manager Bill Barker and host Nick Sciple discuss the issues that caused investors to sell off shares in the logistics provider.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Feb. 28, 2019.

Nick Sciple: A little bit of XPO's recent performance has disappointed investors. If you look at the share price, it's down over 50% since its highs back in October. In the most recent earnings call, CEO Bradley Jacobs right off the top of the call said, "There's no other way to say it, we just missed the quarter." What happened in XPO's recent results that generated this sharp decline in share price? How should investors think about that?

Bill Barker: XPO, going into October, was trading over $100 a share. One of the reasons for that is that the company had not only put forward aggressive guidance over the past five or six years on its growth, and it hitting certain metrics -- the company-adjusted EBITDA numbers and things like that; I won't get too much into the accounting details. But, they'd hit them consistently for five or six years. Then, the third quarter earnings came out, and they missed their numbers because of a bankruptcy in Europe. And not only missed the number for the quarter -- it was really one customer prevented them from hitting the previous guidance -- but they lowered their guidance for the fourth quarter.

That was a new part of the story, which hit the stock fairly hard back then. And then, there was a short-seller report that came out in December. Still, mostly, the stock had delivered on the guidance that it provided. Then, the fourth quarter numbers came in, and a couple of things happened. One, there was weakness in England, the U.K., and France as Europe has slowed down and as Brexit worries have impacted there. That was part of it. A bigger part was that XPO's largest customer in the fourth quarter pulled their postal injection business, and then, a couple of weeks later, pulled another big chunk of their business, so XPO had to radically reduce their guidance for 2019.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for XPO Logistics.