Swiss Post said today that this year’s financial performance will be slightly below last year’s, as profits dipped 13% in the first half.
The national postal operator in Switzerland said it was expecting “tougher” challenges from market and technological changes this year.
But it blamed the profit fall in the first half of the year on its new income tax liabilities, after the firm was converted into a Public Limited Company at the end of June. Now fully subject to taxation, Swiss Post saw its tax bill rise from CHF 4m to CHF 57m.
Swiss Post said its underlying Group profit in the first half fell by CHF 53m, to CHF 359m. This underlying figure did not include a CHF 943m deferred tax bill and a CHF 444m pension-related adjustment to staff costs, or a CHF 105m adjustment to the value of stamp sales, Swiss Post said.
Revenues in the first half slipped 0.7% to CHF 4.26m.
Swiss Post said it was expecting a “good result” for 2013 as a whole, but this will probably not prove as strong as in 2012.
Divisional results (CHF 1.0 = EUR 0.8 or USD 1.08)
Swiss Post’s business in the communication market saw pre-tax earnings triple to CHF 152m, with revenues down slightly, to CHF 2.6bn, as international business was transferred to the new joint venture with La Poste, Asendia.
Within the business, the domestic mail unit PostMail saw revenues down 6.8% to CHF 1.48bn, with EBIT remaining the same at CHF 194m. The company’s addressed letter volumes fell 2.3% year-on-year in the first half, but unaddressed letter volumes grew by 4% year-on-year.
Swiss Post Solutions grew its revenues by 2%, but its CHF 2m operating profit turned into a CHF 1m operating loss in the first half.
Swiss Post’s logistics business saw pre-tax earnings slip 6.8% to CHF 68m, mainly from higher service costs. Parcel volumes rose 3.4% year-on-year thanks to the growing online retail demand.
The passenger transport division in Swiss Post also saw pre-tax earnings slip, by 5.5%, to CHF 17m.
Swiss Post’s financial division, PostFinance, saw its pre-tax earnings up by 2.4% to CHF 299m in the first half with gains on investments and lower staff costs. Average customer deposits totaled CHF 111.2bn in the period, up 8.7% on the same period in 2012. However, the 12,000 new customers signed up in the first half was down considerably on the 63,000 signed up in the first half of 2012.
Commenting on its first half results, Swiss Post said of its expectations for the coming full year that it should record a “good result” in terms of Group profit as a whole.
“It may however be slightly below the previous year’s level. The challenges posed by the markets and technological change will become tougher. Swiss Post will meet these challenges by continuing to develop its core business with a combination of physical and electronic components, and by exploiting identified growth options.
“It will also further optimize costs and pursue a market-driven pricing policy,” Swiss Post added.