“bpost Group is not immune to the current global crisis”

“bpost Group is not immune to the current global crisis”

Announcing its first quarter 2020 results, bpost says it is not in a position “to accurately and reliably estimate the full quantitative impact on full year 2020 results” as a result of the pandemic, and that the Board will propose to the ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders to limit the dividend on 2019 results to the interim amount paid in December last year.

 first quarter 2020 highlights

  • Group operating income at EUR 934.6 million, +3.1% compared with the same period last year and driven by Parcels BeNe and e-commerce logistics growth in both Parcels & Logistics
Europe & Asia and North America.
  • Group reported EBIT at EUR 71.0 million. Adjusted EBIT at EUR 75.6 million (margin of 8.1%).
Mail & Retail
  • Underlying mail volume decline at -9.9% driven by cancelled advertising campaigns due to COVID-19.
Parcels & Logistics Europe & Asia
  • Total operating income at EUR 213.5 million (+8.5%) mainly driven by Parcels BeNe (+19.8%). Significant negative impact in Cross-border business of COVID-19.
  • Organic Parcels BeNe volumes at +20.5%, higher than +17.9% volume growth observed year-to-date February 2020, and driven by increased online sales since the March 18, 2020 lockdown.
  • Reported EBIT at EUR 16.2 million Adjusted EBIT at EUR 16.9 million (7.9% margin), up EUR 4.5 million (+31%) operationally excluding 1Q19 VAT recovery, year-over-year negative evolution of terminal dues settlements and COVID-19. PaLo Eurasia COVID-19 impact estimated at EUR -1.8 million.

Jean-Paul Van Avermaet, CEO of bpost Group:  commented: “We are experiencing an unprecedented global crisis. Facing these exceptional circumstances, bpost Group is more than ever conscious of the social role it plays by providing a vital link between people and preventing the isolation of the most vulnerable. The considerable efforts made by our employees to guarantee the continuity of bpost Group’s services are not made at the expense of their and our customers’ health and safety. This is of critical importance and our number one priority. We have implemented many measures on the field to protect our employees and our customers.”

“In a very short time, thanks to the unbridled efforts of all postmen and women, we have succeeded in structurally accommodating and processing the large influx of parcels within our current infrastructure in an agile and flexible manner. This proves once again that the Belgian economy can count on bpost more than ever as an essential link between companies and customers to support the change in online consumer behaviour.”

“As expected, bpost Group is not immune to the current global crisis. The Belgian Federal government has imposed a lockdown on Belgian citizens since mid-March 2020, and this has unavoidably impacted our first quarter results. Our key priorities remain to guarantee the safety of our employees, the continuity of operations and the sound financial situation of the company. We continue to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 virus on our operations and financials. Given the uncertainties and ongoing developments, we are not in a position to date to accurately and reliably estimate the full quantitative impact on full year 2020 results and will communicate as soon as this assessment can be made.”

François Cornelis, Chairman of the Board of Directors, continues: “Meanwhile, tough but well-considered decisions had to be made to strengthen the balance sheet and safeguard cash reserves of the Group for the long-term. Therefore, the Board will propose to the ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders to limit the dividend on 2019 results to the interim amount paid in December last year. In the present exceptional circumstances, prudence is warranted given the uncertain length and severity of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Jean-Paul Van Avermaet, CEO of bpost Group: “Also capital expenditures will be limited to urgent and strategic needs only. Based on our continuous assessment of the situation, we will take any further actions deemed necessary.”

“Besides COVID-19, our first quarter results are marked by growing EBIT contributions from our Parcels & E-commerce logistics businesses both in Europe and the US. This confirms that the business transformation we embarked on is the right track towards a viable future. Since our first quarter results were hampered by significant EBIT churn from our domestic and international mail activities, we need to further accelerate the development of our growth activities. Meanwhile, we want to remain an efficient mail operator in Belgium, and for that purpose, the successful nation-wide introduction of our alternating distribution model mid-March has been a major step forward.”

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