An Post revenue returns to 2008 levels as stamp hikes take hold
Profit on operating activity at €8.4 million as business turns around
An Post ’s pretax profit in 2017 was €49.6 million, compared with a €15.7 million loss in 2016. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Profit at An Post reached €8.4 million in 2017 as an increase in the price of stamps and a resurgence in parcel volumes brought revenue back to 2008 levels.
It was a surprise turnaround for the service, which made a loss of €12.4 million last year and had forecast a loss of €61 million if radical action was not taken.
Revenue rose 1.2 per cent to €840 million, with a 30 per cent increase in the volume of parcels following the relaunch of the service. An Post said the extension of the delivery service to Saturdays and late-night cut-offs had helped it win back market share.
Pretax profit was €49.6 million, compared with a €15.7 million loss in 2016, but last year’s figures included the proceeds from the sale of Cardiff Lane, with asset disposals worth almost €37 million on the balance sheet, and a refinancing dividend from Premier Lotteries Ireland DAC of €9 million.
In December, An Post said it had achieved a breakthrough agreement on the amount European postal companies pay An Post for delivering their mail in the Republic, known as terminal dues. Worth €6 million this year, the figure is set to rise to €10 million in 2020.
The service has also seen a reduction of 333 full-time roles in the first quarter of 2018 as a restructuring programme took effect. The strategy review sees the company split into the Mails and Parcels Service and the Post Office Network, reducing the management team from 11 to six executives. The retail business, which was established at the year-end, includes post offices, Post Insurance, BillPay and State Savings operations.
The company received a five-year €30 million loan from the Government to provide financial stability to the body while it implemented its strategy.
An Post chief executive David McRedmond said the company had achieved “a substantial turnaround” of its business. “With the restructuring into two core businesses, the reinvigoration of management, the collaboration with the staff and unions, especially the CWU, and the backing of Government, the future is bright,” he said. “An Post is the enabler of e-commerce, and will play an increasingly important role partnering the digital economy.”