The week that was: 26 February 2010

Financial results galore in the postal sector this week… If you are bored by financial figures, Post&Parcel apologises in advance.

Right, so let’s get stuck in. First up was TNT, who reported a 58% drop in year-on-year profit for Q4 2009 and an overall drop in group profit of 50% for the last financial year. The Dutch company made €25m profit in Q4, compared to €59m for the same period of 2008. Yearly profit fell from €556 to €281m, despite cost savings of €527m.Group operating income stood at €128m (€160m in Q4 2008), including one-off charges of €191m, whilst underlying operating income was €322m, an improvement for the first time since Q2 2008, year-on-year. Net cash from operating activities was described as “strong” at € 52m. Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT, said: “Operating results in Q4 2009 were relatively solid in a trading environment that continued to improve, leading for the first time since Q2 of 2008 to a higher group operating income than the same quarter last year.”

New Zealand Post Group has recorded a net profit after tax of $42.5m in a difficult half year, ended 31 December 2009. Group chief executive Brian Roche said that, although down by 19.4% on the $52.8m net earnings in the corresponding previous half year, the current period’s net profit was an acceptable result given the significant impacts of the global economic downturn and increasing competition. “The recessionary conditions in the last financial year continued into the first half of the current year and led to further volume reductions in our postal, courier and distribution businesses,” he said. The Group profit before tax was $55.1m, down 21.2% on the $69.9m in the 2008 half year period. A 5.3% decline, to $621.5m, in revenue from operations was also due largely to the economic downturn and financial sector changes, however the Group’s cost management strategy had been successful in reducing expenditure by $9.1m to $589m.

Back to Europe now, where Posten Norden described its latest financial results as “acceptable”.Net sales for the full year totalled SEK 44,633m, whilst operating earnings for the full year totalled SEK 284m. Excluding restructuring costs of SEK 1,154m, operating earnings for the full year totalled SEK 1,438m. Earnings before tax for the full year totalled SEK 2,439m and net earnings totalled SEK 2,414m. As part of the merger, an additional dividend of SEK 1,400m was paid to the Swedish state. Post Danmark also divested its share in MIE Group, which represented Post Danmark’s equity interest in Belgian Post, De Post N.V.-La Poste. The divestment produced a capital gain of SEK 2,002m. The Board proposes a dividend of SEK 1,440m. Lars G Nordström, CEO, said: “Posten Norden’s 2009 result demonstrates the extent to which the recession and substitution have impacted the demand for communication and logistics services. It also clearly indicates the need to be able to rapidly adjust costs to lower income levels. The sharp decline in letter volumes is the main cause of Posten Norden’s lower earnings.

Things weren’t so rosy at Post Danmark, where the company reported a “historic decline” in 2009, as operating profits fell to DKK 136m compared to DKK 817m the year before. “In 2009, Post Danmark experienced a historic decline in mail volume, and today about 9% fewer parcels and letters are sent compared with earlier. As a result, operating income decreased much faster than it was possible to reduce expenses,” said KB Pedersen, executive vice president of Posten Norden and CEO of Post Danmark. Post Danmark’s total after-tax profit for 2009 was DKK 1,640m compared with an after-tax profit of DKK 965m the year before. The positive profit development was due entirely to the sale of Post Danmark’s stake in the Belgian postal company, De Post – La Poste, which contributed with DKK 1,555m.

And finally…

“Royal Mail’s First Class quality of service performance fell below target in the autumn of 2009-2010”, said the operator in a press release…

…just hours after Post&Parcel published a story detailing the late delivery of a parcel – by 27 years!

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