Post AG staff benefit from turnover jump

Austrian postal services provider Post AG has managed to increase its turnover despite lower interest in sending letters.

Post AG chief Georg Pölzl said yesterday (Thurs) that the firm’s turnover rose by 4.2 per cent from 2010 to 2011 to 2.3 billion Euros. He explained that his company registered significantly fewer posted letters and postcards while it benefited from soaring interest in online shopping. The former T-Mobile Germany manager said this development heaved Post AG’s parcel division to new heights. He added that increasing e-mail communication meant an annual decrease of letters of three to four per cent in Austria.

Pölzl revealed that Post AG staff would receive a bonus of 750 Euros per capita due to the solid performance of the firm in 2011 when earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) jumped by more than seven per cent to 168.3 million Euros. The CEO of the Viennese enterprise emphasised that the procedure of reducing the workforce level would continue. Post AG had 800 fewer employees in 2011 than in 2010. The company controversially decided a few years ago to offer golden handshake agreements to older workers to get back in the black in the short term. Other important parts of its current strategy are less disputed.

Post AG generally abstains from hiring new employees when staff retire. The company also plans to continue looking for firms interested in becoming Post Partners. More than 1,200 companies are currently operating as Post Partners all over Austria. They offer basic postal services to customers to compensate for the closure of regular post offices. People can post letters and pick up parcels at grocery stores, petrol stations and call shops which have joined the widely acclaimed project.

The number of traditional post offices declined to around 600 in the past few years. The executive board of Post AG – in which the Republic of Austria holds a stake of 52.8 per cent stake through Industry-Holding Stock Corporation ÖIAG – created the Post Partner concept in an attempt to avoid protests against closures. Nevertheless, citizens across Austria launch petitions on a regular basis to rescue their local post office from being forced to shut down for good.

Post AG claims to save 40,000 Euros a year with each new Post Partner cooperation. The company recently presented a survey showing that nine in 10 Post Partner clients were satisfied with the private firms’ extra services. Another result of the poll is that eight out of 10 Post Partner customers would recommend using the stores’ postal services to family and friends. Especially the shops’ opening hours are appreciated by customers, according to the study. A large number of regular post offices situated in rural regions close around midday.

Post AG, which has around 22,000 employees, entered the Vienna Stock Exchange’s (WBAG) Prime Market in May 2006. One share was traded for 24.9 Euros at 11am today. The company recently decided that the price for services should depend more strongly on letters’ size instead of their weight. Post AG started charging 62 Eurocents for delivering letters of the most common size last May. The service previously cost 55 Eurocents.