The first half of 2023 was characterised by challenging conditions. Economic developments and the ongoing high inflation rate continue to impact Austrian Post’s business model. This applies particularly to higher costs for energy and purchased services as well as increased staff costs alongside a weaker economic environment as reflected in the subdued consumer confidence. “Our performance in the first half year is in line with our expectations,” says CEO Georg Pölzl. “However, we succeeded in growing revenue as well as earnings thanks to the necessary cost and price discipline,” he added.

Group revenue totaled EUR 1,284.8m in the first half of 2023, implying a rise of 6.0 %. The Parcel & Logistics Division showed a 9.9 % revenue increase to EUR 628.4m. Business in Türkiye continued to be negatively impacted by inflation and currency effects. Nevertheless, the company managed to generate higher revenue in all regions. The Mail Division reported a slight revenue decline of 0.2 % to EUR 598.1m in the first half year 2023, with the rise in conventional letter mail in contrast to a decrease in the direct mail business. The Retail & Bank Division generated strong revenue growth of 41.3 % to EUR 76.5m due to the improved interest rate environment for banks. Austrian Post’s Group revenue in the first and second quarters of 2023 was considerably affected by the exchange rate of the Turkish Lira. Accordingly, the first quarter benefited with revenue increasing by 10.5 %, whereas the second quarter was negatively impacted, showing an increase of only 1.6 % mainly due to currency effects in line with hyperinflationary accounting.

Despite the ongoing challenges, Austrian Post reported an improvement in its key financial indicators for the first half of 2023. EBITDA increased by 5.3 % to EUR 189.0m and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 4.6 % from EUR 91.0m to EUR 95.2m. EBIT reported by the Mail Division totalled EUR 77.6m in the first half of 2023 compared to EUR 82.9m in the previous year. The earnings reduction is attributable to the ongoing volume decline and cost increases in all areas which could be only partially offset by postal rate increases. EBIT achieved by the Parcel & Logistics Division equalled EUR 36.3m in the first half of 2023 compared to the prior-year figure of EUR 45.5m. This decrease can be attributed to positive special effects amounting to EUR 10.9m in the previous year in connection with Aras Kargo (in particular the option valuation relating to the increase in Austrian Post’s stake in the company). The Retail & Bank Division showed a strong earnings improvement, recording an EBIT of EUR 1.1m in the first half of 2023, up from minus EUR 20.4m in the prior-year period. In this regard, a significant contribution was made by the positive development of the financial services business of bank99 based on the improved interest rate environment. All in all, second-quarter EBIT of the Austrian Post Group was down from EUR 51.4m to EUR 48.2m due to the above-mentioned positive special effects of EUR 10.9m in the second quarter of 2022. The profit for the period climbed from EUR 54.8m to EUR 78.6m in the first half-year 2023, corresponding to improved earnings per share of EUR 1.13 in contrast to EUR 0.83 per share in the previous year.

In the second half of 2023, the economic environment in Europe will continue to be characterised by high inflation, restrained consumer behaviour and a limited investment activity. Austrian Post will adapt its product and pricing portfolio for conventional letter mail items effective 1 September 2023. Both business and private customers will be able to choose between the cheaper ECO letter with two to three working days delivery and the faster PRIO letter with next working day delivery. In turn, this will enhance freedom of choice and ensure reliable delivery quality. The Group maintains its performance targets for the 2023 financial year and expects to achieve revenue growth in the mid-single-digit range and earnings (EBIT) at about the same level as last year.

The investment programme of Austrian Post to ensure sustainability and growth is also a top priority in 2023. The focus is on expanding parcel logistics capacities in Austria as well as the sustainable vehicle fleet to enhance e-mobility. Austrian Post is very well positioned to maintain delivery quality and speed for parcels in Austria at a high level even in the case of increasing volumes due to the scheduled completion of the Logistics Centre Vienna in the autumn of this year.

“In the interest of customer orientation, the performance of our services and our leading role in sustainable logistics are at the centre of our actions,” CEO Georg Pölzl concludes.

Source: Österreichische Post