Year: 2006

France's La Poste to record EUR 700m profit for 2006

French national postal operator La Poste said yesterday it expected to record a EUR 700 million net profit in 2006, up by about 25% on the figure of EUR 557 million for 2005.

The 2006 operating margin (operating profit on sales revenue) will be around 3.5%, said the group in a statement. La Poste noted that its balance sheet would be hit by an exceptional reform-linked contribution of EUR 2 billion to the national pension financing system at the end of this year.

Internal investment this year on new hubs in Lorraine and Val de Loire and the modernisation of the postal network (1100 offices) reached EUR 1.2 billion, up from EUR 950 million in 2005.

The group spent a further EUR 550 million on acquisitions for its European express network, an increased presence in publishing ventures by its Courrier mail arm and Banque Postale’s move to take over 100% of its asset management activities.

For 2007, La Poste expects to increase turnover by 3%, excluding external revenue growth, and to improve its operating profit margin to 5.8% thanks to cost controls and reform of its pension financing.

Its mail revenues are budgeted to rise 1% in spite of falling volumes, while parcels and express revenues are expected to rise 7% while the Banque Postale aims for 4% growth.

La Poste will invest about EUR 1.4 billion next year, with 11 new hubs and sorting centres planned as well as the renovation of a further 1000 branches.

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Austrian Post completes acquisition of Germany's trans-o-flex

Austrian Post has officially completed the acquisition of a 74.9% majority holding in German express parcels company trans-o-flex.

The Austrian postal group announced that the existing trans-o-flex management headed by Klaus J. Heinz would remain in place. Thomas Doll, head of corporate controlling at Austrian Post, will also take on the role of trans-o-flex financial director.

Austrian Post plans to use trans-o-flex, and its European partner network Eurodis, as its main platform to develop its European B2B parcels distribution business.

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Tis a jolly good season for NZ Post

Santa’s sack is groaning with a record number of presents flying around the country for the delivery on Sunday night.

Parcel deliveries at New Zealand Post are up by 13 per cent on last year as the Christmas season enters overdrive.

Monday had the biggest volume of packages for the year, at about 160,000 out of 5.3 million mail deliveries.

“It’s an exceedingly significant increase,” New Zealand Post spokesman Richard McLean said. Mail volumes this year had hit record highs in some towns compared with previous Christmas periods, and nobody was reporting a decline in mail traffic.

Even after adding extra delivery trucks between Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand Post’s resources were stretched, he said.

“The system is at absolutely full capacity at the moment.”

Posties were delivering well over five million pieces of mail each day. “This week is one of those weeks where the mail just keeps flowing and flowing.”

The higher-than-normal volumes were probably the result of Christmas shoppers filling stockings via the Internet, Mr McLean said.

“Even apart from the Trade Me phenomenon, everyone is getting into the online shopping thing, and it all has to be transported somehow.”

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Christmas cards boost bottom line for UK businesses

Small and medium sized businesses up and down the country are set to increase their New Year profits by GBP257 million as a result of sending their customers Christmas Cards over the festive season.

According to the Royal Mail research launched today, bottom line profits of businesses are set to increase by 2.1 per cent as a result of sending Christmas card mailers – a return on investment of 3,213 per cent – with the average company spending just GBP200.

Businesses are realising the value of sending Christmas cards, with a third convinced they help to build and maintain customer relationships, and six in ten believing that they give them a competitive edge.

Alex Batchelor, Royal Mail’s Marketing Director, said: “This research shows that as a sales and marketing tool, the humble Christmas card provides a huge return on investment.

Royal Mail’s festive postbag this year of two billion items includes 750 million Christmas cards.

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UK Post office closure is branded shortsighted

The West Surrey branch of the Federation of Small Business (FSB) has added its voice to the mounting furore over the decision to close 2,500 post offices across the UK.

The organisation which looks after the interests of small businesses has cited that 82% of small firms believe the closure of their local post office would adversely affect them.

While accepting that many sub-post offices are loss making, it has argued that the social need must be put before profit.

A total of 88% of small firms send mail every day, 69% send invoices through the post and 94% of small firms use Royal Mail exclusively.

And with small businesses employing twelve million people the potential for this decision to have a negative knock-on effect on the economy is considerable claims the group.

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling made the announcement to the House of Commons last week that some post offices will close as early as summer 2007 as part of the cost-cutting move, branded short-sighted by the federation.

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DHL expands Time Definite Delivery for Import Express to Nagoya area

DHL announced today the launch of Import MidDay Express – a service to guarantee delivery of imported documents and parcels by noon – in the Nagoya area. The service provided by DHL Express Japan will be available from 4 January 2007.

In the Nagoya area, year-on-year sales in the January-November 2006 period increased 30% for the Import Express service and 110% for Time Definite Delivery (TDD) services. To meet the rising demand for the two services in Nagoya, Import MidDay Express, which began service in Tokyo and Osaka on 1 June 2006, will be launched in Nagoya with an aim to further expand and diversify the services offered in this region. Demand for Import MidDay Express in the Nagoya area is expected from the high-tech, textile and apparel, and automobile industries.

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USPS proposal will simplify International Mail products

The U.S. Postal Service is proposing changes to make its International Mail products easier to use. The changes will introduce the most familiar and trusted USPS domestic product names — First-Class Mail, Priority Mail and Express Mail — into the International product portfolio, making it easier for customers to mail cards, letters and packages worldwide.

The proposal will reorganize eight International Mail products now offered at postal outlets and online at usps.com into four simplified groupings: Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, Priority Mail International and First-Class Mail International.

Online tools already are available to make mailing easier, combining customs forms and address labels into one document for many International Mail products. Soon, online shipping will be easier on the budget too, with discounts for postage purchased using Click-N-Ship at usps.com or through authorized postage vendors. Popular flat-rate shipping options also will be added.

Customers will be able to use many of the same recognizable packaging supplies — available free from USPS — for both domestic and International Mail shipments. Online customers also can request Free Package Pickup for certain International parcel services at their home or office for even more convenience.

Along with the product name changes, USPS is proposing to restructure International Mail prices for the first time in more than five years, resulting in an average increase of 13 percent.

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