UPS hits Q2 forecasts; Papa John’s hikes dividend 14%; it’s National Chicken Wing Day at KFC; and Franklin Circuit judge blocks new UofL board, casting school into more turmoil

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:56 p.m.

UPS just reported second-quarter results that were in line with Wall Street’s forecasts. The shipper — Louisville’s single-biggest private employer — reported net income of $1.27 billion, or $1.43 a share, up from $1.23 billion, or $1.35 a share, in the year-earlier period. The FactSet consensus of analysts was for earnings per share of $1.43.

Revenue was $14.6 billion, up from $14.1 billion in the year-earlier period and in line with the FactSet consensus of $14.6 billion. The shipper reiterated its full year EPS guidance of $5.70 to $5.90, compared to the FactSet consensus of $5.80 (MarketWatch and press release). UPS shares closed at $108.10, down 63 cents. The company employs 22,000 workers at the Worldport hub at Louisville International Airport — the biggest fully automated package handling facility in the world.

John Schnatter

PAPA JOHN’S late yesterday boosted its quarterly dividend by a whopping 14%. The new 20-cents-a-share payout, up from 17.5 cents a share, will be paid Aug. 19 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 8 (press release). The pizza giant’s shares closed today at $73.95, up 30 cents. On an annual basis, the 10 cents-per-share hike is worth another $1,045,598 to founder and CEO John Schnatter. His 10,455,981 shares — the most owned by anyone — are now worth $770 million. Shareholders proxy report lists all major holders.

KFC: In the U.K. and Ireland only today, fast-chicken giant KFC today will give away a year’s supply of hot chicken wings to one very lucky winner and their best mate in a promotion celebrating National Chicken Wing Day. “All you need to do is follow KFC on Twitter and then tell them why your best mate is, well, the best, using the hashtag ” (Metro). But don’t hesitate: You must enter by midnight tonight U.K. time, which is six hours ahead of Eastern Time.

TACO BELL: The world’s media outlets are now devoting wall-to-wall news coverage to Taco Bell’s new Cheetos-stuffed burritos debuting in the middle of August in Cincinnati. Behold the $1 sandwich in all its orange glory:


AMAZON spent $3.9 billion in the second quarter on its distribution network, or what it calls “fulfillment,” up 35% from the prior year, according to its quarterly financial report disclosed yesterday. The company spent $13.4 billion on fulfillment in all of 2015, up 25% from the prior year — and fully 13% of its entire $104.8 billion in total operating expenses. “Costs to ‘fulfill’ products is one of their largest expenses, and they’re always trying how to figure out how to manage it better,” said R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian. “In the long term, creating more infrastructure for transportation and delivery will help drive more efficiency, but it adds to costs in the near term” (Associated Press via New York Times). Seeking Alpha has now published a transcript of yesterday’s teleconference on the quarterly report (Seeking Alpha). The retailer employs 6,000 workers at two Louisville area distribution centers; all about Amazon.

Bezos and Buffett
Bezos and Buffett.

Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos got a whole lot richer after the quarterly report, adding $2.6 billion to his fortune yesterday alone. His net worth reached a new high of $66.5 billion, passing investor Warren Buffett by $300 million to end the day as the world’s third richest person (Forbes).

BROWN-FORMAN: Chicago Time Out says Lollapalooza music festival-goers”should grab the Jack Daniel’s Peach and Honey Punch — with whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, peach syrup, lemon juice and Rare Tea Cellar’s Black Citron Iced Tea: “It’s peachy and summery with the tiniest hint of a whiskey bite” — No. 3 on the travel guide’s list of six things to do at the four-day event ending Sunday (Time Out). Jack Daniel’s is bringing a 360-degree virtual reality video to the festival timed to its 150th anniversary, too:

FORD stock‘s 8% plunge yesterday after a weak second-quarter financial report was the stock’s worst single-day loss in five years. Shares closed at $12.71, down $1.13 (Bidness Etc). Also, Seeking Alpha has published a transcript of yesterday’s teleconference call with CEO Mark Fields and Wall Street analysts (Seeking Alpha).

In other news, throwing the University of Louisville into yet more disarray today, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily blocked Gov. Matt Bevin’s overhaul of the board of trustees. The judge’s 22-page order temporarily blocks the Bevin-appointed board from making decisions for the university, “pending a final judgment in this action.” Bevin abolished the board by executive order in June, sacking the 17-member governing body and replacing it with a 10-member board.

James Ramsey

It’s unclear what happens next. Only Wednesday, the new board negotiated the resignation of embattled President James Ramsey. Shepherd’s order would appear to make that action and everything else the new board has done unlawful (Courier-Journal and WFPL).

Meanwhile, Ramsey left some parting gifts for his deputies when he quit, WFPL reported earlier. The 67-year-old administrator ensured UofL keeps — or at least keeps paying — two of his vice presidents after he’s gone, via special contract clauses tied to his exit. Several other administrators have contracts with extraordinary perks that would be difficult, if not impossible, for the next president to roll back (WFPL).

And finally, Louisville Zoo’s 29-year-old dromedary camel Olivia has died, after living well past the median age for camels of 17.8 years. She had been at the zoo since 1989, officials said in a  press release announcing her death Monday at about 9 p.m.

“Zoo keepers had been monitoring Olivia closely the last few days as she had become lethargic and had lost appetite,” the release said. “Unfortunately, she did not respond to veterinary treatments and supportive care. A post-mortem examination was performed, and final results as to cause of death are pending.”

Olivia’s was the third death at the zoo in the past four months. Two weeks ago, officials were forced to euthanize Monty, a popular 38-year-old male Burmese python after he was diagnosed with cancer. And in March, a 27-year-old western lowlands gorilla named Mia Moja died from complications after giving birth to a female baby via emergency cesarean section. The infant, named Kindi, survived.

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