Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Same sex vote helps stem Australia Post snail mail losses - for now

The same sex marriage survey has provided a one-off boost to Australia Post's traditional business which continues to be hit by a decline in "snail mail" letter volumes.

Australia Post says without the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey creating a $26.3 million revenue surge late last year, a ten percent fall in traditional letter volumes would have been "even sharper".

But chief executive Christine Holgate - who took over last year from Ahmed Fahour - has warned that despite the boost from the same sex vote and $113 million in savings she expects Australia Post to swing back into loss in the second half of the year.

"Due to the strong seasonal nature of our business, we expect to again make a loss in the second half. The results demonstrate the significant challenge for Australia Post to continue to transform," Ms Holgate said. 

In its half year results to December 31 released today, Australia Post said addressed letter volumes have fallen more than 26 percent in the past three years as large organistions continue to move their communucations online.

Australia's Post has reported a 65 percent improvement in half year profit after tax of $217 million helped by property sales and one off benefits.

An eight percent increase on its parcels business has seen revenues increase by three percent to $3.6 billion.

Australia Post is continuing to struggle with maintaining its traditional bricks and mortar portfolio of post offices while transforming into a parcels business.

"It is critical for Australia Post to continue to meet the needs of Australians by maintaining a healthy and viable Post Office network, including our Licensed Post Office partners," Ms Holgate said.

"We are currently working to find new revenue streams for our Post Offices, as their role in communities becomes increasingly important to serve an ageing population and with traditional services closing branches." 

Australia Post has an obligation to provide a service that is "reasonably accessible to all people in Australia, wherever they reside or carry on business."

In today's report, Australia Post said it has 15,160 street post boxes; 4,369 post offices nationwide including 2,541 post offices in regional and remote areas.

Ms Holgate pointed to strong growth from Asia with inbound parcel volumes up by 45 percent in the period with most of the growth coming from China.

She said almost two-thirds of Australia Post's revenuee coming from competitive markets but highlighted concerns about its share in the deliveries business with trading flat with growth of just one percent.

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