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Financial analysts today welcomed Deutsche Post-DHL’s third-quarter results, which showed higher profits, despite worsening trade.

The company posted an extraordinary 151% increase in earnings before interest and tax (ebit) of €942m, compared with €376m in the third quarter of last year.

However, the figures were skewed by investments in “property, plant and equipment in the Express division”, as well as a non-recurring expense in its Post & Parcel division last year of €392m.

According to analyst Jeffries, Q3 ebit had widely been expected by the financial community to be €867m, so today’s result is some 9% better than expected, and was chiefly the result of improving margins and higher revenue across most of its main divisions – although freight forwarding was its weakest performer.

Jeffries analyst David Kerstens wrote today: “The results confirm Deutsche Post DHL is an attractive self-help recovery story, supported by structural e-commerce growth, while being relatively less exposed to trade tensions and macro uncertainty.”

The group’s revenues during the period increased year-on-year by 4.7%, to reach €15.5bn for the quarter.

Revenue in its DHL Global Forwarding & Freight division, which includes European road freight activities and air and sea freight forwarding, rose just 0.9% to €3.7bn.

This was chiefly due to weakness in the air freight market, where volumes during the period declined 6.2% year on year to 882,000 tonnes, from 940,000 in the same period last year. This resulted in a 4.7% decline in air freight revenues.

Ocean revenue increased 3.4% to €917m for the period, on the back of a 2.8% increase in volumes to 847,000 teu.

“Air freight volumes and revenues were down, but if we compare ourselves with our peers we see this is the general development of the air freight market,” explained DP-DHL chief financial officer Melanie Kreis.

“Despite the flat revenue, we did increase gross profit in air freight,” she added. “This means the economic development of the world may be challenging but we can always rely on ourselves for internal improvement of results.”

The Supply Chain division delivered “a solid performance”, with third-quarter revenue of €3.3bn, a 2.3% increase, while ebit grew 5.9% to reach €162m.

Its Express division commissioned two new B777Fs during the quarter and saw year-on-year revenue climb 8.7% to €4.2bn, with volumes up 5.9%.

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