Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) reported first-quarter earnings-per-share results that were roughly in line with analysts’ expectations, as well as a 15% year-over-year revenue increase fueled entirely by a 41% surge in its global e-commerce business. However, analysts weren’t impressed, sending Pitney Bowes’ already beaten-down shares dropping by another 15%.
The Stamford, Connecticut-based company posted adjusted EPS of 5 cents a share, which included a 2-cents-per-share tax benefit associated with reorganization measures. The median estimate by analysts was 5 cents a share. Revenue was reported at $915 million, paced by a 41% reported revenue gain in its global e-commerce business as global demand remained highly elevated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global e-commerce is the largest of Pitney Bowes’ three units, accounting for about 45% of its first-quarter revenue.
Pitney Bowes’ two other units, Presort Services and Sending Technology Solutions, posted a small revenue gain and small loss, respectively. The global e-commerce unit narrowed its losses year-over-year, while the two other units posted modest gains over the year-earlier period.
At the close Friday, shares were down 15% to $7.46 a share. Shares peaked around mid-1999 in the low-$70s before beginning a protracted decline.
With its ubiquitous postage meters and its ancillary services, Pitney Bowes rode high before the advent of mail digitization. The secular shift to email and to other digital applications reduced demand for postage meters, the company’s bread and butter.
From 2015 to 2017, Pitney Bowes made several investments in an effort to remake itself as a technology and e-commerce provider. In May 2015, it acquired online shopping services provider Borderfree for about $395 million. The company also acquired the cloud-based software developer Enroute Systems Corp. for an undisclosed amount. In mid-2016 it acquired Maponics, a provider of “geospatial boundary and contextual data,” for an undisclosed amount.
In a major push into the parcel business, Pitney Bowes in September 2017 acquired Newgistics Inc., an e-commerce and retail logistics company, for $475 million.
The Presort Services unit provides sortation services that qualify large mail volumes for discounts under the Postal Service’s workshare partner program. The Sending Technology Solutions unit offers physical and digital mailing and shipping solutions targeted at small to midsize businesses.