At €850m, turnover was down €26m (2.9 per cent), reflecting a 2 per cent drop in mail volumes over the previous year.
Over the past five years An Post has achieved a €75m turnaround in Group operating profit whilst tightly controlling costs, driving up quality of service and managing significant growth in mail volumes for most of this period.
An Post’s performance in 2008 was influenced by first half growth in mail volumes, a strong retail performance, efficiencies achieved by the company’s Transformation programme and strict cost control.
Commenting on the 2008 performance after the company’s Annual General Meeting at the GPO, An Post Chairman John Fitzgerald said that 2008 is a year on which everyone in An Post can reflect with some pride.
“A most acceptable operating profit was achieved on the back of tight cost control in every aspect of the business. This prudent approach must continue as we are now in a radically different economic environment, and there is only one certainty for An Post – that is the imperative to continue to transform the business into an entity that can remain viable in a competitive market. That task must remain our central focus as we move towards 2011 when the postal market will be open to full competition.
“During 2008, a number of initiatives illustrated the company’s strategic focus on broadening its revenue base, including an increased emphasis on serving the specific delivery needs of online and catalogue retailers and customers; the expansion of financial services offerings such as banking and insurance through Postbank: and the announcement of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) partnership with Vodafone to go live later this year,” he added.
The retail business performed very strongly, with significant growth in financial services products and a steady increase in social welfare payments. A new retail strategy was developed to support Postmasters and staff in growing their business and improving the breadth and quality of their services to customers.
In 2008 An Post invested a total of €39m to support the continued improvement in mails quality of service, all funded from its operations, as part of an overall €150m investment over three years. The company has maintained the price of the basic stamp at 55c since March 2007. 79 per cent next day domestic delivery was achieved in 2008, up 2 per cent on 2007. International mail delivery targets were consistently exceeded for incoming and outgoing mail and An Post received the prestigious International Post Corporation Certificate for Excellence.
Speaking at the GPO, Donal Connell, An Post Chief Executive said “This financial performance means that we look to the future from a solid base of consistent improvements in virtually every aspect of our business. The unprecedented economic downturn, and its potential to affect our ongoing profitability, brings new and very serious challenges for everyone and a renewed cost focus, he said.
“It is important that we continue to focus on those things over which we have control, to remain competitive and not to lose sight of the reality of full market opening in some 20 months time. We are determined to compete in the marketplace; to be our customers’ supplier of choice and to continue to improve our quality of service. I am confident that An Post can meet the current challenges as a strong and leading player at the centre of the Irish economy,” he concluded.
(new window) Online Annual Report '08