- Operating income SEK 314m (162).
- Net income for the period SEK 263m (56).
- Earnings per share SEK 0.13 (0.03).
- Cash flow from operating activities SEK 757m (435).
- Effects of coronavirus pandemic
- Marginal financial impact in quarter
- Business classified as key service sector
- Increased sick leave
- Changes in customer behavior
Comment from Annemarie Gardshol, President and Group CEO
The first quarter of the year may be divided into two phases: before and after the outbreak of the coronavirus in the Nordics. Until mid-March, growth was clearly positive and overall sales in the quarter were on a par with the preceding year. Operating income totaled SEK 314m (162), a strong improvement from the corresponding quarter last year and a satisfactory, result given the prevailing situation.
The pressure of change remains high. Our efficiency programs are continuing successfully and are preparing us for the future. We are continuing to grow in e-commerce logistics and are seeing mail customers streaming back from competitors. The dialogue with both owners has continued in a positive spirit and a new review of postal legislation has been announced in Sweden.
With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the situation changed in mid-March. Just like our customers and the rest of the industry, we are experiencing the challenges of closed borders, shortages of transport capacity, increased sick leave and major changes in customer behavior. PostNord has an important social function to discharge, and our focus has been to ensure secure deliveries for our customers and recipients, while looking after our employees at all times. The various restrictions in the Nordic countries resulting from the pandemic have also affected our market. For example, volumes in durable goods to stores have fallen sharply, while demand for home deliveries has risen sharply throughout the Nordics. The latter development is a need that we have quickly been able to respond to. The pandemic itself did not have any direct impact on mail volumes in the quarter.
Despite the pandemic, operations went ahead in accordance with our strategy, and in order to meet the challenge of digitization. Recently, the Nordic-wide agreement with the DPD Group was extended, enabling parcel deliveries to and from the Nordic region and out into Europe to continue. We have also signed a new agreement for the Swedish and Danish market with Staples Solutions, one of the biggest suppliers of office materials and equipment in Europe. In the Swedish market, we are preparing to pilot alternate-day deliveries in the autumn. In Denmark, dialogue with politicians continues regarding a new agreement on universal postal services. The current agreement expires at mid-year. Strålfors continues to implement efficiency improvements in physical production processes, with parallel development of its activities in 3D printing.
In addition, we made a contribution to greater sustainability in the industry by reducing the volume of air in parcels and announced the winners of the prestigious PostNord Logistics Award.
In the quarter, we issued stamps in Denmark to mark the 80th birthday of the Queen of Denmark and chose the winning entries in the popular Swedish “My dog on a stamp” competition.
Like every other company, we are now working proactively with customers and employees in taking responsibility. Many citizens and businesses in the Nordics are dependent on our deliveries, and on us living up to the demands of the universal postal service in Denmark and Sweden. In times such as these, it is even more obvious how important PostNord’s activities are in serving the public interest. In the present circumstances, I therefore take extra pride in what we do and the excellent quality we have succeeded in maintaining. I would also like to say a big Thank You to all our wonderful employees who are standing firm in delivering our customer promise.