With third-quarter results in line with expectations, Deutsche Post stressed that anthrax-related costs are barely weighing on its bottom line and said it will meet its own full-year results targets.
German postal-services and logistics group Deutsche Post AG on Thursday delivered third-quarter results in line with analysts' expectations and said it would meet its own full-year profit and sales goals.
Third-quarter earnings before interest and taxes rose 8.58% to 468 million euro, while third-quarter group sales declined slightly to 8.05 billion euro in 2001 from 8.119 billion euro in 2000.
Over the nine-month period, sales rose 4.24% to 24.87 billion euro, and earnings before interest and taxes rose 5.33% to 1.758 billion euro. Only in its mail division did the group book a decline in ebit – of 4.16% to 1.67 billion euro, which was due to increased personnel costs and a trend towards cheaper products.
Over the full year, Chief Executive Klaus Zumwinkel said the group would see growth in sales and earnings of 5% apiece. Net earnings would do no more than match the 2000 level of 1.5 billion euro, owing to an increased tax quota. The group said its loss carryover would be completely used by 2002.
Zumwinkel said he was convinced that the group remained on target for growth, despite economic slowdown, the fall-out from the terrorist attacks and anthrax-related disruptions.
He estimated the extra costs arising from security measures to deal with the anthrax scare at just 1 million euro. And he said the group had lost no sales revenue over anthrax, stressing that there had so far been no cases of contamination in Europe. But Zumwinkel said DHL, Deutsche Post's parcel-post unit, was running at a loss in the United States.
Deutsche Post may even be able to turn some aspects of the economic downturn to its advantage, Zumwinkel said. In the current environment, companies are increasingly heaving off their logistics operations. If prices come down any further, Deutsche Post will start to make acquisitions, he said. But he rejected reports that the group plans a takeover of US parcel-post company Airborne.