German Deutsche Post staying with operating profit forecast of €2.9bn

German postal and logistics group Deutsche Post is staying with its operating profit forecast of €2.9 billion ($3.6 billion) for this year, its chief executive was quoted as saying. “Our guidance is and remains that we will have an operating profit of at least 2.9 billion euros,” CEO Klaus Zumwinkel said in an interview with German financial daily Boersen-Zeitung. “Now, with the year coming to its end, I can say: We have no reason whatsoever to divert from this forecast,” he said, referring to earnings before interest, tax and amortization. Zumwinkel also said the group would raise its annual dividend if net profit rises. The company paid 0.40 euros per share for 2002. He said the firm’s cost-cutting drive “Star” had yielded 400 million euros in cost savings so far, exceeding the 350 million originally planned for this year. Zumwinkel also said he expected the German government and state development bank KfW to sell their remaining Deutsche Post stock by 2007. Earlier this month, KfW sold a two billion euro stake in Deutsche Post, and bankers close to the deal said KfW could be aiming to sell even more of its Post stake, which it reduced to around 42 percent in the deal from 48.3 percent. Turning to the planned initial public offering of Post’s banking business Postbank next autumn, Zumwinkel said the group would hang on to more than 50 percent in the bank in the long term. “We would like to keep the majority for strategic reasons,” he said. Post has said it would use the proceeds from the Postbank listing to cut debt and boost investment, but plans no special dividend payout. It has said it will list a stake of up to 49 percent in the banking unit in one of the biggest German flotations since 2001. Zumwinkel has previously set an approximate valuation of five billion euros for Postbank, meaning a flotation might raise some 2.5 billion, higher than many analysts’ expect.

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