Österreichische Post AG

EANS-News: Österreichische Post AG
AUSTRIAN POST Q1 2014: SLIGHT REVENUE AND EARNINGS DECLINE BASED ON A STRONG PRIOR-YEAR QUARTER; OUTLOOK CONFIRMED FOR 2014

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Financial Figures/Balance Sheet

Wien (euro adhoc) - AUSTRIAN POST Q1 2014

- Market environment
   - Ongoing trend towards electronic substitution of mail
   - Solid growth on the Austrian parcel market
   - Tough competition in the international parcel sector
- Revenue
   - Slight revenue decline of 0.7% as expected following positive election
effects in Q1 2013
   - Higher revenue in the parcel business but decrease in the mail segment 
- Earnings 
   - EBIT down 2.6% compared to strong prior-year quarter
   - Resolute efficiency enhancement and cost optimisation 
- Outlook for 2014 confirmed
   - Stable revenue development in a challenging market environment
   - EBIT improvement aspired for 2014

OVERVIEW OF AUSTRIAN POST 
In the first quarter of 2014, revenue and earnings of Austrian Post developed in
line with expectations. Total Group revenue declined slightly by 0.7% to EUR
598.4m compared to a very good prior-year quarter benefitting from positive
revenue effects mainly arising from elections and referendums. Whereas mail
revenue declined as expected, the parcel and logistics business showed an
increase of 3.7% during the reporting period. The Austrian market as well as the
subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe and Germany generated a rise in
revenue. In Germany, the focus continues to be on increasing the profitability
of the services rendered. In the mail segment, growth was achieved especially in
new business areas such as Mail Solutions. At the same time, Austrian Post is
fighting for every letter in its traditional mail business by providing
individualised customer solutions. 
Operating results (EBIT) declined by 2.6% from the previous year to EUR 58.2m
due to the somewhat lower Group revenue. The earnings development of the
individual divisions makes it clear that the focus will continue to be on
resolutely implementing efficiency enhancement measures. In the mail segment,
the revenue decrease could be almost completely offset by a cost optimisation
drive. In the parcel business, negative effects in connection to the
trans-o-flex Group such as write-downs and structural measures had an impact.
The Corporate segment showed a slight EBIT improvement due to the reduced need
to allocate provisions. 
"In terms of the 2014 outlook, we expect a stable revenue development, but at
the same time are striving to further increase earnings. The main focus of our
strategic activities is continued efficiency enhancement in addition to the
consistent orientation to the needs of our customers. That is why we are
continuing our investment programme in 2014, featuring capacity expansion
measures, new sorting technologies and innovative solutions", says CEO Georg
Pölzl. From the capital market point of view, Austrian Post remains committed to
its clear positioning as a reliable and predictable dividend stock. Accordingly,
the Annual General Meeting held on April 24, 2014 approved the resolution to
distribute a dividend of EUR 1.90 per share for payment on May 8, 2014.  
 
REVENUE DEVELOPMENT IN DETAIL
In the first quarter of 2014, reported revenue of the Austrian Post Group
slightly declined as expected compared to the prior-year quarter. A significant
influencing factor in the previous year was the large number of elections and
referendums which positively affected mail volumes in 2013. Accordingly, revenue
in the first quarter of 2014 amounted to EUR 598.4m, a drop of 0.7% from the
first quarter of 2013 but higher than in 2012.  
The Mail & Branch Network Division accounted for the largest share or 63.2% of
total Group revenue in the first quarter of 2014. Divisional revenue was at an
extraordinarily high level in the prior-year period due to numerous elections
held in Austria in the first half of 2013. Revenue of the Mail & Branch Network
Division totalled EUR 378.8m in the first quarter of 2014. The year-on-year
decline of 3.1% was due to these special effects as well as the ongoing
electronic substitution of letters and lower direct mail volumes. The Parcel &
Logistics Division contributed 36.7% to total Group revenue, with revenue in the
first quarter rising by 3.7% to EUR 220.0m. 
The Mail & Branch Network Division generated external revenue of EUR 378.8m in
the first quarter of 2014. Of this amount, 54.7% can be attributed to the Letter
Mail & Mail Solutions business, whereas Direct Mail accounted for 27.9% of total
divisional revenue and Media Post, including newspaper and magazines, had a 9.3%
share in the first quarter of the year. In addition, Branch Services accounted
for 8.1% of divisional revenue.  
Revenue in the field of Letter Mail & Mail Solutions fell by 1.2% from the
previous year to EUR 207.1m. The substitution of letter mail by electronic media
is continuing as before. Decreases took place, for example, in the customer
segment comprising the public sector. Elections such as the Austrian Chamber of
Labour elections in the federal provinces provided added impetus but did not
have such a pronounced impact on revenue as in 2013. New services offered in the
field of Mail Solutions posted growth. However, the basic trend of declining
letter mail volumes remains valid.   
Revenue in the Direct Mail business was down 6.3% in the first quarter of 2014
to EUR 105.7m, which can be partly attributed to the lower revenue effects from
elections compared to the previous year. Direct mail volumes are generally
affected by overall economic momentum and the advertising activities of
customers. The pressure exerted by online business on traditional mail order
companies and retail stores led to dampened advertising spending on the part of
several customers in Austria as well as in South East and Eastern Europe.
Moreover, the unaddressed segment in particular was subject to declining direct
mail volumes, especially in the customer segment of building supplies stores.  
Media Post revenue also remained at a stable level of EUR 35.3m, comprising a
decrease of 0.1% in a quarterly comparison. Branch Services revenue was down to
EUR 30.8m, due to the fact that adjustments to service rates charged to
customers on the part of telecommunication providers led to a drop in revenue
from mobile telephony products. 
External sales of the Parcel & Logistics Division rose by 3.7% in the first
quarter of 2014 to EUR 220.0m, with Premium Parcels generating the lion's share
or 75.0% of total divisional revenue (parcel delivery within 24 hours).    
Premium Parcels which are mainly used in the business-to-business segment,
generated revenue of EUR 165.0m in the first quarter of 2014, a rise of 3.8%
from the previous year. The good development was the consequence of revenue
growth generated with existing customers as well as the company's success in
attracting new customers. The business parcel segment in Austria developed well,
whereas disproportionately high growth was also achieved in the higher value
parcels to private customers.  
Standard Parcels, which mainly involve shipments to private customers in
Austria, posted first-quarter revenue of EUR 46.1m, comprising a slight increase
of 0.3%. Other Parcel Services, which includes various additional logistics
services such as fulfilment, warehousing and cash logistics, generated revenue
of EUR 8.9m in the first quarter of 2014, a rise of EUR 1.6m from the previous
year.    
From a regional perspective, 57% of total revenue in the Parcel & Logistics
Division was generated in Germany in the first quarter of 2014, 35% in Austria
and 8% by the subsidiaries in South East and Eastern Europe. Revenue in Germany
was up by 2.6%, although the challenging competitive environment and the price
pressure on this market will continue to have a significant impact on the
business. At the same time, revenue growth in Austria reached a level of 4.4%,
supported by the trend towards online shopping as well as the higher market
share in the business parcel segment. In total, the South East and Eastern
European subsidiaries posted first-quarter growth of 8.7%. 
 
EXPENSE AND EARNINGS DEVELOPMENT

The item raw materials, consumables and services used declined by 1.8% in the
reporting period to EUR 183.8m. This development is primarily due to the
decrease in costs for external transport services. In particular, in Germany the
business model of the trans-o-flex Group is characterised by a high level of
external value creation, which has been reduced due to the acquisition of
distribution companies.    
Staff costs of Austrian Post remained largely stable at EUR 280.6m in the first
quarter of 2014. The operational staff costs of salaries and wages, which are
included in this total, were slightly higher than in the previous year as a
consequence of the integration of the distribution companies. Persistent
efficiency enhancement measures and the optimisation of the staff structure
succeeded in counteracting the regular salary increases. On balance, the average
number of employees (full-time equivalents) working for Austrian Post in the
first quarter of 2014 amounted to 23,732 people, compared to 23,829 employees in
the first quarter of 2013. Moreover, staff costs in the first quarter of 2014
also included termination benefits as well as well as wage-related contributions
from previous periods, each totalling about EUR 6m.    
The lower Group revenue also resulted in a slight decrease in earnings. Earnings
before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of the Austrian
Post Group fell by 1.5% to EUR 78.8m, corresponding to an EBITDA margin of
13.2%. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to EUR 58.2m, a decrease
of 2.6% from the previous year. The corresponding EBIT margin was 9.7%. 
After deducting the income tax of EUR 13.8m, the Group net profit (profit after
tax for the period) amounted to EUR 43.7m, a decline of 6.4% compared to the
first quarter of 2013. This comprises undiluted earnings per share of EUR 0.64
for the first quarter of 2014.
From a divisional perspective, the earnings situation was characterised by only
minor changes compared to the first quarter of the previous year. The Mail &
Branch Network Division generated an EBITDA of EUR 85.4m, a drop of 1.0% and an
EBIT of EUR 77.9m, down 1.4%. The revenue decrease was almost completely offset
by stringent cost discipline. 
EBITDA of the Parcel & Logistics Division amounted to EUR 10.7m, compared to EUR
12.4m in the first quarter of 2013, whereas EBIT totalled EUR 5.5m, down from
EUR 7.4m in the previous year in the first quarter of 2013. The EBIT decline can
be attributed to the negative effects of EUR 2.7m relating to the trans-o-flex
Group. Write-downs on receivables as well as various structural measures within
the context of the efficiency enhancement programme were necessary.     
The Corporate Division basically encompasses all expenses for central
departments in the Group as well as staff-related provisions. The reduced
expenses for staff-related provisions for under-utilisation in the first quarter
of 2014 resulted in a slightly improved EBIT of minus EUR 25.3m.  

CASH FLOW AND BALANCE SHEET 

In the first quarter of 2014, operating cash flow before changes in working
capital amounted to EUR 73.8m, down by EUR 14.7m from the comparable prior-year
figure. The changes in working capital totalled minus EUR 23.2m in the reporting
period compared to minus EUR 38.7m in 2013. As a result, the cash flow from
operating activities at EUR 50.6m was at about the same level as in the previous
year. This can be attributed, among other reasons, to a lower growth in
receivables. 
The cash flow from investing activities of minus EUR 7.8m in the first quarter
of 2014 was significantly below the prior-year level. Not only were there hardly
any payments made in the reporting period in connection with acquisitions, but
the cash outflows for property, plant and equipment (CAPEX) reported at minus
EUR 11.2m was considerably below the first quarter of 2013. In contrast,
proceeds from the disposal of financial investments in securities amounting to
EUR 5.0m tended to increase the cash flow. On balance, the free cash flow
totalled EUR 42.8m in the reporting period. The free cash flow before
acquisitions and securities was EUR 38.0m, a rise of EUR 9.9m from the
prior-year quarter.  
Austrian Post pursues a conservative balance sheet policy and financing
structure. This is demonstrated by the high equity ratio, the low amount of
financial liabilities and the solid level of cash and cash equivalents invested
with the least possible risk. Equity of the Austrian Post Group totalled EUR
743.2m as at March 31, 2014, corresponding to an equity ratio of 44.4%. The
analysis of the financial position of the company shows a high level of current
and non-current financial resources to the amount of EUR 345.6m (cash and cash
equivalents plus financial investments in securities). These financial resources
are in contrast to financial liabilities of only EUR 23.5m.   

EMPLOYEES 
The average number of full-time employees at the Austrian Post Group totalled
23,732 people during the period of review, comprising a decline of 97 employees
from the prior-year period. Most of Austrian Post's staff or a total of 18,178
employees (full-time equivalents) is employed by the parent company
Österreichische Post AG.   

OUTLOOK 2014
The general trends in both the mail and parcel businesses continued on a
national and international level in the first quarter of 2014. For this reason,
Austrian Post confirms its previously announced outlook for the entire year
2014, in which the company is striving to achieve a stable revenue development.
The decrease in mail revenue should be compensated by higher parcel revenue. 
The mail business will continue to be impacted by the ongoing volume decline for
addressed mail due to electronic substitution. New regulations stipulating the
obligatory electronic delivery of official government mail will tend to
accelerate this trend. In line with comparable international markets, the
decrease in letter mail volume is likely to amount to 3-5%. The market for
addressed and unaddressed direct mail is being impacted by slower economic
growth and the pressure exerted by e-commerce on traditional mail order
companies and retail stores. 
In contrast, in the Parcel & Logistics Division the online retail business is
the driving force behind growth in the private customer segment, expected to
total 3-6% annual depending on the region. The development of the business
parcel segment in the individual markets depends on the state of the economy and
the current competitive situation. 
Austrian Post is implementing a programme of measures to achieve "operational
excellence" in order to further increase the efficiency of the services
provided. Structures and processes in both the mail and parcel logistics are
being consistently improved. The new automation and sorting technologies will
enable Austrian Post to consistently exploit its cost reduction potential. For
this reason, capital expenditure in the year 2014 will once again total about
EUR 100m. Profitability is the top priority in the company's international
business operations, encompassing both a focus on the core business as well as
ensuring the steady increase of efficiency in all processes.  
With respect to its earnings development, the Austrian Post Group remains
committed to the target of achieving a sustainable EBITDA margin of 10-12%. The
company is also striving to improve its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT)
in 2014.  


OVERVIEW OF KEY INDICATORS 


EUR m                                    Q1 2013       Q1 2014        Change %
Income statement                                                      
Revenue                                  602.9         598.4         -0.7%
Earnings before interest, tax,           80.0          78.8          -1.5%
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA)
EBITDA margin*                           13.3%         13.2%         -
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT)  59.7          58.2          -2.6%
EBIT margin*                             9.9%          9.7%          -
Profit before tax                        58.8          57.4          -2.4%
Profit for the period                    46.6          43.7          -6.4%
Earnings per share (EUR)**               0.69          0.64          -6.1%
Employees (average for the period, full- 23,829        23,732        -0.4%
time equivalents)
                                                                      
Cash flow                                                             
Operating cash flow before changes in    88.6          73.8          -16.6%
working capital
Cash flow from operating activities      49.8          50.6          1.5%
Investment in property, plant and        -22.3         -11.2         -49.8%
equipment (CAPEX)
Acquisition/disposal of subsidiaries     -11.0         -0.2          <-100%
Free cash flow before acquisitions/      28,1          38.0          35.4%
securities
                                                                      
Balance sheet                            Dec. 31, 2013 Mar. 31, 2014 Change %
                                                                      
Total assets                             1,641.6       1,672.3       1.9%
Equity                                   699.4         743.2         6.3%
Non-current assets***                    1,066.4       1,058.9       -0.7%
Current assets***                        573.3         613.4         7.0%
Net debt                                 114.3         73.3          -35.8%
Equity ratio                             42.6%         44.4%         -
Capital employed                         755.3         758.2         0.4%


* EBIT and EBITDA in relation to total Group revenue 
** Undiluted earnings per share in relation to 67,552,638 shares
*** Excl. Assets held for sale 

The interim report for the first quarter of 2014 is available on the Internet at
www.post.at/ir --> Publications --> Financial Reports.


Further inquiry note:
Austrian Post
Harald Hagenauer
Head of Investor Relations, Corporate Governance, Group Auditing & Compliance 
Tel.: +43 (0) 57767-30400
harald.hagenauer@post.at

Austrian Post
Ingeborg Gratzer
Head of Press Relations & Internal Communications
Tel.: +43 (0) 57767-24730
ingeborg.gratzer@post.at

end of announcement                               euro adhoc 
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company:     Österreichische Post AG
             Haidingergasse  1
             A-1030 Wien
phone:       +43 (0)57767-0
mail:     investor@post.at
WWW:      www.post.at
sector:      Transport
ISIN:        AT0000APOST4
indexes:     ATX Prime, ATX
stockmarkets: official market: Wien 
language:   English
 

Original-Content von: Österreichische Post AG, übermittelt durch news aktuell

Weitere Meldungen: Österreichische Post AG

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