Which company can already say that in these weeks: “The hard lockdown has had a massive impact on our delivery business.
As a result, we had a perfect fourth quarter, ”said Post Manager Frank Appel in a conference call.
Deutsche Post has never before delivered so many parcels, made so much turnover and earned so much money as in the past financial year.
In the final quarter alone, the parcel volume rose by 23 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.
The shop closings from mid-December made a major contribution to this.
As a result, the Germans have placed record amounts of online orders and received mountains of parcels home.
“Due to the crisis, we still won the competition,” said Appel.
Even for the time after the corona pandemic, Swiss Post remains optimistic.
The growth in the business with parcels to private addresses will no longer be so high, according to the Post.
In return, however, the dispatch to business addresses, which is declining due to the shop closings, will recover.
As before, fashion stores, sports shops or even telecom shops are sometimes supplied with goods several times a day by the parcel services.
In January 2021, Swiss Post delivered a good ten million parcels again on a peak day.
The parcel service expects “a very high volume level” in the coming weeks, simply because of the high number of returns and the orders that have been sent back.
Parcel delivery services benefit from the changed shopping behavior like hardly any other sector of the economy.
As the market leader with a share of 40 percent, Swiss Post expects a positive development in the coming years due to the structural change towards e-commerce.
Fewer letters are sent
"Even in a normal situation and when Covid is over, we will see dynamic growth," said Appel.
In addition to the large mail order companies such as Zalando and Amazon, many small retailers in particular have become customers of the DHL delivery service.
All of this led to the fact that the Post was able to increase the pre-tax profit from the mailing of letters and parcels by almost a third to 1.6 billion euros in the past financial year.
Behind this is the high number of 1.83 billion parcels that the post brought to the front door that year.
On average, this was five million parcel deliveries a day.
Source: WORLD infographic
In contrast, the volume of letter deliveries is shrinking; in the final quarter this decrease was seven percent.
In part, this is related to the consequences of the corona pandemic and the decline in advertising mail.
In another part, however, this is also evidence of the structural change towards digital communication and away from letter post.
In addition to the domestic business, the postal group is benefiting significantly from the upward trend in Asia.
In many countries, the Post is the market leader in express delivery with its subsidiary DHL, which affects the comparatively expensive parcel delivery within a day.
"In some parts of Asia the infection situation is more stable than in Europe and there express delivery is already picking up again," said Appel.
In the final quarter of 2020 alone, this part of the group brought in a good one billion euros in pre-tax profit.
In order to continue the growth in the global express business, the group has just ordered eight Boeing-777 cargo aircraft.
Unlike usual in the freight transport business, DHL will buy these aircraft and not rent them.
In total, in the three years between 2020 and 2022, Swiss Post will invest around 9.5 billion euros in expanding letter and parcel transport as well as sea and air freight.
Post share at record high
Combined in all areas, Deutsche Post / DHL, the world's largest logistics company, generated 4.8 billion euros in profit before interest and taxes from sales of 67 billion euros last year.
Adjusted for one-off effects such as the cost of phasing out the Streetscooter electric delivery vehicle, this result was 5.4 billion euros, more than ever before.
Compared to the previous year, this is an improvement of a good third.
For the next two years, the post manager announced further profit increases, but without giving any figures.
All of these developments are also reflected in the share price of the former state-owned company.
The share of the group, whose image is rather dusty and boring, has doubled its price since the beginning of the corona pandemic in Germany in mid-March 2020 from then 21 euros to around 42 euros today.
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So far there is no statement as to whether the company will increase the dividend for the past financial year from the most recent 1.15 euros.
The Executive Board's stipulation is to distribute between 40 and 60 percent of the consolidated profit to the shareholders.
The German state will benefit from this, after all, the federal government still holds 21 percent of the shares in Post through the KfW banking group.
According to the information, it has not yet been decided whether the employees will be given a special benefit.
Another Covid bonus after the payment of 300 euros to each employee from last autumn will be checked, it said.
A prerequisite for this success is certainly the fact that the work of the postal company's 550,000 employees worldwide has hardly been affected by the corona pandemic, at least to this day.
"We only have a few cases of infection within the companies and have not yet had to close any operations anywhere in the world," said the post manager.
One reason for this are early and frequent tests for the virus in the operational parts.
However, according to Swiss Post, the average number of infections among employees in the individual countries is at the level of the respective general population.
In addition to its competitor Kuehne + Nagel, Swiss Post itself is one of the world's largest carriers of Covid-19 vaccines.
In order to protect its own employees against the virus, the group is now even considering its own vaccinations.
"We are guided by the regulations of the governments and are currently not actively seeking vaccines," said Appel, who holds a doctorate in neurobiology.
The ranking of those who would be vaccinated is in the hands of the state governments.
"But if we get the opportunity, we will vaccinate our employees at the expense of the company," said the CEO.
Eventually the amounts of vaccine would increase.
He himself is assuming that the overall situation will normalize in the course of this year.