- Group turnover increases despite seven per cent fall in mail volumes
- Record €84m turnover in subsidiaries lessens dependence on traditional mails revenue
- Stringent focus on cost control and new revenue streams
- Infrastructure/technology investment funded from Company’s own resources
26th April 2012: An Post has reported a group operating profit of €2.2m for 2011 (€5.8m in 2010) on a group turnover of €807m (€805m in 2010), driven by strong performances in the retail and subsidiary businesses, the growth of new revenue streams and stringent ongoing cost control. Core mail volumes declined by seven per cent in the year.
Savings of €15.4m in pay costs were achieved through more efficient working arrangements, increased use of automated mail processing and a full-time equivalent (FTE) staff reduction of 300 by way of voluntary exit schemes, non-replacement of staff, overtime reduction and work process change.
This brings the total FTE staff reduction within the core business to 1,100 since 2008. The next phase involves a further employee FTE reduction of up to 1,500 by end 2016. Non-pay cost savings totalling €10m were achieved in the year.
Turnover in subsidiary companies including One Direct, the Gift Voucher Shop and the UK-based Air Business reached €84m, a 24 per cent increase on the prior year. The Retail business continued to perform strongly with revenue of €171.6m, in line with 2010.
Group profit after tax was €347,000 in 2011 compared to a loss of €24.6m the prior year due mainly to an exceptional VS/VER provision of €20m in 2010.
The value of State Savings reached €14.1 billion, an increase of €1.4bn on 2010. Other new retail streams showed very encouraging growth including Dollars and Sterling Foreign Exchange and additional agency services for Allied Irish Bank, National Irish Bank and other finance and utility providers.
Core mail volumes fell by seven per cent in 2011, mainly due to the economic situation bringing the overall decline in core mail volumes to 23.5 per cent since the peak of 2007. The Company is forecasting a further seven per cent decline in 2012.
Overall mails related revenue totalled €535m, a fall of €17m on 2010. The impact of this unprecedented volume decline on the funding of the Universal Service Obligation (USO), whereby customers can avail of nationwide delivery and collections, five days a week, for a uniform price, is now a priority issue for the Company.
The impact of this unprecedented decline in mail volumes has resulted in a serious and unsustainable shortfall in USO funding, jeopardising both the future of the service and the viability of An Post’s wider operation. Without necessary and overdue price adjustments, this situation will continue to deteriorate.
An Post has made application to ComReg, the Commission for Communications Regulation for an increase in the basic 55c tariff later this year. In 2011, An Post delivered to 100,000 more delivery points than in 2007 – the year in which the basic tariff last increased.
The Company’s pension fund deficit increased to €484m in 2011, up from €368m in 2010, reflecting the continued uncertainty in financial markets and the consequent reduction in the value of the scheme’s assets.
Commenting on the 2011 results, An Post Chairman, John Fitzgerald said:
“An Post is a more modern, innovative and cost effective enterprise than ever before. It has funded its programme of transformation and investment in equipment, technology and infrastructure from its own resources, without recourse to state subsidy or borrowings of any kind.”
“This is a time when all the Company’s key stakeholders need to work together to ensure its future viability and that An Post reaches its full potential. A strong and stable mails and retail infrastructure, trusted as it is by Irish and international customers, is an essential support to the process of economic recovery,” he added.
An Post Chief Executive, Donal Connell described the 2011 results as very solid, given the extent of difficulties facing Irish business due to the ongoing economic situation.
“The process of adapting the business to the commercial realities of the marketplace continued apace through ongoing change implementation, innovation, strategic investment and cost reduction programmes. This is a tough business nationally and globally.”
“The achievement of ongoing cost savings whilst improving quality and innovation is a real challenge but it is the key to our future and will enable us to take advantage of new business opportunities. We are proud to lead the way in international postal quality and innovation and in 2011 we achieved ISO9001 accreditation for our four automated mails centres together with 120 large-scale delivery services units and our national customer services centre”.
“It is essential that the serious issue of funding the USO be resolved. The USO is a vital piece of national infrastructure, central to the business and community life of the country and a key facilitator of economic activity including new business innovation,” he said.
“Ongoing change and adaptation is an inevitable part of the Irish and international postal, financial services and communications industries. The pace of change must be accelerated to help address the issue of declining volume. We will address this with determination and we will ensure the development of innovative products and the provision of high quality, value for money, relevant, customer focussed services. I have every confidence, and a strong belief in our ability to deliver at every level,” he concluded.
Note: An Post’s UK based subsidiary, Air Business, is one of the UK’s fastest growing and most successful international mailing companies, specialising in international periodical and direct mails distribution. Last year it acquired Quadrant Subscription Services (QSS), a leading subscription management and publishing services firm. An Post provides a growing number of Irish clients with added-value international mailing services through this subsidiary which continues to grow its market share.
(new window, 6.5MB pdf) Annual Report '11
View the An Post Annual Report 2011 online.