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UK Royal Mail makes pounds 200m profit and claims that service is better

Royal Mail will this week unveil profits of more than pounds 200m for the first half of the year – and will attempt to allay fears that the profits have been bought at the cost of a deteriorating service. The results, which put the Royal Mail on track to make profits of more than pounds 400m for the full year and pay a pounds 200m dividend to employees, are an extraordinary turnaround from 2002, when the company was losing pounds 1m a day. Last year, it broke even in the first half. Mail delivery performance figures for the second quarter will show that Royal Mail is meeting its target of 98.5 per cent of second class letters delivered within three working days. More than 92 per cent of first class letters are delivered the next day, against a target of 92.5 per cent.
The figures will be a boost to the credibility of Adam Crozier, the chief executive of Royal Mail, who took direct responsibility for the operational side of the business earlier this year after it missed all 15 performance targets for last year.

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Up to a quarter of Austria’s post offices faced with a high deficit

According to an assessment by the Austrian Post, 20 to 25 per cent of all post offices face a high deficit as they are frequented by too few customers, reports said on Saturday. As a consequence, up to 410 of Austria’s 1,640 post offices might be in danger of being closed down. The Austrian Post said none of its employees would be dismissed. On the sidelines of an information meeting with the heads of 1,000 post offices, director general Anton Wais stressed there was no list of offices to be closed down. He did, however, not rule out that some of the branches might not be maintained. The objective was to safeguard the future of the Austrian Post for the business location of Austria, said Wais. This was only possible if close attention was paid to what was “the optimum” for the company and the market. A press release by the Austrian Post said its business area concerned with post offices had to reduce costs by 22.7 million euros by 2007 in order to be able to continue to maintain a comprehensive net of branches.

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Deputies want Ceska Posta to be monopoly again

Czech state-run postal services operator Ceska posta should be the exclusive provider of direct mailing again, daily Mlada fronta Dnes wrote on Saturday.
An amendment to the law on postal service is now waiting for its final debate in the Chamber of Deputies. If the bill is approved, Ceska posta would get rid of its main competitor Mediaservis, which has roughly a 10 per cent market share at present. The European Union has for several years regarded the Czech market for direct mailing as open to all companies. Ceska posta says, according to the daily, that the canceling of the monopoly in this segment has never been included in any law.

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Shock figures reveal An Post will halt losses

An Post, Ireland’s deeply troubled postal service, is heading for a surprise break-even profit figure for this year. As the nation is threatened by a postal strike at its peak Christmas period, the news is bound to strengthen management’s hands during critical negotiations with the unions. This weekend, workers are balloting on industrial action. Sources at An Post have told the Sunday Independent that the shock turnaround from last year’s losses of 43m is due to once-off savings, unlikely to be repeated in 2005 unless the unions agree to a productivity deal.

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Hong Kong postal service posts first profit in 6 years

The Sars outbreak has helped deliver Hongkong Post its first profit in six years. Postmaster-General Allan Chiang Yam-wang said more online purchases and an increase in deliveries during the outbreak contributed to the service reaping a HKD17 million profit last financial year. New revenue-raising measures and job cuts were also major factors in the turnaround. The post office recorded revenue of HKD3.53 billion in 2003-04, an increase of HKD23 million from HKD3.51 billion in the previous year. At the same time, it reduced expenditure by HKD47 million, from HKD3.56 billion in 2002-03 to $3.51 billion last year.

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DOT orders FedEx to repay USD29 million

FedEx Corp. is challenging an order by the US Department of Transportation to repay USD29 million of the federal money it received after the 2001 terrorist attacks, a spokesman said Friday. The Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act provided financial relief to US air carriers after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. FedEx was paid USD101 million under the act in 2002. But a review by the Department of Transportation determined that the company was only entitled to USD72 million and it wants FedEx to repay the rest. “We will vigorously challenge this,” FedEx spokesman Jess Bunn said. “We’ve already started looking at various ways to appeal this decision.”

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UK Royal Mail strikes deal with councils

Local authorities can expect cheaper and better-targeted distribution of their printed comms material following a deal struck with Royal Mail. Royal Mail has agreed to extend the periods for which councils can book it to distribute their materials to two years. It has also allocated distribution according to council boundaries rather than by postcodes, said LG Communications secretary and treasurer Kevin Wilson. The deal was struck between PROs from councils including Staffordshire, West Sussex and Surrey, and Royal Mail national sales manager Tim Cable, in Milton Keynes last week.

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More Franchises for Amtrak

Amtrak Express Parcels has brought operations for the Newcastle are in-house- but is seeking to franchise in other areas where it runs its own operation. The firm has earmarked Brighton, Canterbury, Tunbridge Wells, Colchester/Chelmsford, Cambridge and Walsall/Dudley as areas for franchising.

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