- Net sales totaled SEK 30,836m (29,902)
- Operating earnings totaled SEK 1,885m (1,995)
- Strong financial position put the equity-assets ratio at 42% (37%)
- On February 2, 2009 the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications and the Danish Ministry of Transport announced their signing of the final agreement in the merger of Posten AB and Post Danmark A/S
- Pursuant to the agreement between the Swedish and Danish states on the merger of Posten AB and Post Danmark A/S, there will be no ordinary dividend distributed for 2008. According to the same agreement, Posten AB will pay out an extraordinary dividend of SEK 1,400m to the Swedish state
President and CEO, Lars G Nordström, comments:
Posten reported good financial results for 2008. Net sales increased by 3 percent to SEK 30,836m. Operating earnings totaled SEK 1,885m, which was SEK 110m less than Posten's extremely strong 2007 earnings. The equity-assets ratio totaled 42 percent, and with a return on equity of 20 percent, we exceeded the shareholders' yield requirements. The group's operating earnings for the fourth quarter were positively affected by lower restructuring and pensions provisions. The completion of the planned closure of the Cashier Service meant that previous provisions of SEK 350m could be reversed during 2008. Posten's net cash position continue to be strong, an important message of strength while we prepare for the challenges we will face during 2009.
The group's development during the past year has been characterized by an expanded logistics operation, chiefly through the acquisition of Tollpost Globe, but also by organic growth of 7 percent. By focusing strongly on costs, the logistics operation has improved its operating margin and increased its operating earnings by 68 percent. Sales within Posten Messaging decreased by 2 percent due to substitution and to increased competition from other market players. Profitability was also squeezed by the high share of fixed costs. Stralfors' information logistics business grew, both through acquisition and organically. The restructuring costs taken during the fourth quarter encumbered mainly Posten Messaging and Stralfors.
The prevailing economic situation brings with it reduced demand and less income. At the same time, wage trends mean increased costs. The previously adopted action program for 2008-10 has therefore been updated. Actions already planned and underway will produce more rapid results, and new actions have been identified, mainly on the cost side. It is estimated that the action program will have an overall positive impact on operating earnings of approximately SEK 1 billion during 2009. Our objective is to meet a changeable market with increased speed and flexibility. We are also prepared to take additional steps if the recession deepens.
The shareholders' final go-ahead for the merger of Posten and Post Danmark is very welcome news. This is an historic merger between two national postal companies. The new company provides us with increased competitiveness to meet increasing challenges on the messaging and logistics markets. It also ensures conditions favorable to maintaining first-class and competitive messaging and parcel services in both countries. The regulatory authorities will now begin their examination, and we will begin our work with structuring the new company to bring home the synergy effects and other strategic advantages of the merger.
Posten connects people and organizations around the world by delivering mail promptly, reliably and cost-effectively. We drive value creation by combining conventional postal services and convenient electronic solutions, and integrating these services into customer businesses. With over 4,000 retail service outlets, we provide daily service to 4.5 million homes and 900,000 businesses in Sweden. Every day we handle close to 20 million pieces of mail. With sales of nearly SEK 30 billion and roughly 30,000 employees, the group is one of the largest in Sweden. The group's parent, Posten AB (publ), is wholly owned by the Swedish Government. For more information, please visit our website at www.posten.se