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Presentation of the POST Luxembourg Group's 2020 balance sheet

18 May 2021

  • In 2020, POST Luxembourg ensured the continuity of its public service and universal service missions while taking on new tasks linked to the COVID-19 crisis 

  • Group sales increase slightly to €864 million for 2020, up 0.3% on 2019 

  • EBITDA and net income for 2020 fall by 16% and 5% respectively compared with the previous year 

  • Capital expenditure of €138 million, up 17% on 2019 

  • POST Luxembourg Group employs 4,697 people of almost 50 different nationalities 

  • New Collective Labour Agreement signed 

At a press conference on May 18, 2021, Serge Allegrezza, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Claude Strasser, Managing Director, presented the POST Luxembourg Group's Integrated Report 2020. 

In order to promote a global overview and thus enable better readability of POST's entire scope of action, the design and drafting of the Integrated Report 2020 confirms POST Luxembourg Group's desire to adopt a new approach to the presentation of its results in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. The Group's extra-financial performance has been assessed and presented at the same level of importance and granularity as economic and financial indicators. 

In 2020, despite a particular context deeply marked by the COVID-19 crisis, POST ensured the continuity of its missions and achieved its annual objectives, while taking on additional tasks linked to the health crisis. The POST Luxembourg Group recorded a slight increase in sales of €2.5 million to €864.4 million, up 0.3% on 2019. It should be noted that 2020 was twofold exceptional, as all three POST business lines - postal and telecommunication services, as well as postal financial services - managed to achieve their annual targets while taking on the day-to-day management of the crisis. 

Operating profit (EBITDA) fell by 16% to €153.4 million, compared with an expected rise in 2019. Net income came to 36.2 million euros, down 5%. 

"Through our special status, we invest the money we earn in the infrastructure and technologies needed for the country's development. For 2020, these investments amount to €138 million. Our aim is to generate value, without aiming for excessive profitability. POST is constantly seeking to strike a balance between its public service and universal service missions, and profitability", explains Serge Allegrezza, Chairman of the Board of Directors of POST Luxembourg. 

2020 revealed how POST's modernization and the investments made over several years, notably in POST's telecommunications networks and in parcel management and distribution, proved invaluable during the health crisis, and confirmed the relevance of its Mir sinn d’POST strategy. 

Driven by changes in consumption, with a strong propensity for online shopping since the first containment, parcel volumes in 2020 exceeded the 6.1 million mark, an increase of 47% on 2019. At the same time, the postal business continued to be influenced by the evolution of digitalization leading to declining mail volumes. 

Claude Strasser, Managing Director of POST Luxembourg, commented: "The health crisis has accelerated this digitization process, which is also reflected in the evolution of mail volumes. Excluding the approximately 6 million letters sent in 2020 as part of Large Scale Testing, the number of letters is down by over 12% in one year. This factor has to be taken into account in our projections, and we are aware that this trend will continue in the years to come." 

POST Luxembourg's logistics activities, initially specialized in the management of parcels from Asia destined for the European market, expanded in 2020 to the local level. In addition to handling 14 million parcels from Asia at Findel for delivery throughout Europe, POST's logistics department managed the logistics center for storage and order picking during the health crisis and coordinated the packaging and distribution of masks to businesses and part of the population. 

"We aim to develop our value-added logistics services for local retailers and companies of all sizes, active in e-commerce. POST has the strengths to handle the storage, packaging and dispatch of items to the end customer, as well as the management of returns", explains Claude Strasser. 

With sales of €190.7 million, the postal business was able to compensate for the -6.9% drop in national letter volumes (€60 million in sales) by increasing logistics volumes (+7.5% to 44 million) and parcel volumes (+47% to 20.5 million). 

At €479.7 million (+3.4% on 2019), the telecommunications business contributes almost 60% of POST Group sales. 

Declining structurally for several years, under the effect of confinement and telecommuting, fixed voice business volume is stable for 2020, with a significant increase at the start of the crisis as many workstation calls were diverted to cross-border mobiles. Travel restrictions for health reasons led to a million euro drop in roaming in sales, while overall consumption for 2020 remained stable. 

On the other hand, companies have put their major infrastructure projects on hold. POST had to meet the urgent demands of both business and private customers, while at the same time ensuring its own internal operations. During the first weeks of containment, POST teams worked seven days a week to respond to requests and enable companies to maintain their operations. Despite the unforeseen challenges posed by the health crisis, POST Telecom succeeded in launching new products and services, including WIFI POWER and eSIM, a new-generation SIM card. 

The pandemic accelerated the digitization of the economy, creating new types of risk that require enhanced support from cybersecurity experts. The recent pooling of all the Group's cybersecurity skills into a single team called "POST Cyberforce" has enabled POST to respond rapidly to the evolving cyber threat in times of health crisis. "The synergy of the Group’s skills is one of the reasons why POST is known and recognized today for its expertise, services and infrastructures at both national and international level," sums up Claude Strasser. 

Following the ILR's auction of the frequencies needed to roll out 5G, POST was the first operator to have launched its 5G mobile network on October 16, 2020, and to introduce 5G in its mobile packages, with no rate increase. By the end of 2020, POST had commissioned ten sites to offer coverage in Luxembourg City, which has already been extended to other regions. "Our goal is to achieve 5G coverage for 90% of the population of the Grand Duchy by 2023. POST is also continuing to invest heavily in its 'Network of the Future', and more specifically in the switchover to All-IP and the continuation of the FTTH program," says Claude Strasser. 

This modernization of POST's telecommunications networks is planned based on 7 to 9-year projections, assuming an average traffic increase of 30% each year. The architecture of these networks enables flows to be redirected to one or another path depending on consumption, to avoid saturation. With over 250 million invested in telecommunications networks in five years, POST is one of the leading players in the digitalization of the Grand Duchy. To accelerate the rollout of ultra high-speed broadband in general, and in rural areas in particular, POST Luxembourg has decided to increase the multi-year budget for fixed network investments by €50 million in 2020. Substantial investment now enables almost 73% of the population to be connected to an Internet access offering speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s. 

As a result of the low interest rates on the financial markets and the decline in commission income, sales in the Finance division fell by 3.5 million (12.8%) to €24 million. The new "eboo" ebanking solution found its audience during the COVID-19 crisis, marked by a significant increase in the use of digital tools. As POST Finance's vocation is not to offer the full range of standard banking services, its future ambition will be to combine innovation and financial inclusion for all, and to continue to simplify the customer journey by adding new functionalities thanks to a solid technological base. The creation of the i-Hub start-up and the increase in POST's stake in LUXTRUST are part of this strategy. 

A veritable ecosystem of companies, the POST Luxembourg Group invests in growth-generating niche markets, and will have around twenty companies by 2020, divided into 3 main sectors of activity and a multitude of areas of expertise. POST's ultimate aim is to take advantage of the diversity and synergies of expertise between its subsidiaries to increase its capacity to respond rapidly to new market needs, and to offer high-performance, high value-added products and services to its customers. 

As Luxembourg's largest employer, the POST Luxembourg Group employed an average of 4,697 people of 50 different nationalities in 2020. The signing of the new collective labor agreement was an important milestone in 2020, including the upgrading of certain careers. Another priority is to develop the skills and maintain the employability of its employees, with POST giving a crucial role to ongoing training. In 2020, this ambition was reflected in the launch of the POSTalents program, in which almost 250 employees signed up with the shared aim of broadening their horizons within the Group and supporting their career development aspirations. Claude Strasser adds: "It is the collective strength of POST's employees that contributes, day after day, to making the company's raison d'être a reality. Their commitment and agility ensured that 2020 was the year in which POST's strengths were revealed, thanks to exemplary management of the health crisis. For several months now, customers have been taking a fresh look at POST, and through it at all our employees." 

Serge Allegrezza concludes: "In 2020, the POST Luxembourg Group has demonstrated its vision of 'sustainable' growth, which benefits a significant part of the population. Growth that is measured not only in terms of sales, but also in terms of impact and in meeting local human and economic needs. In this same context, a reflection on social and environmental impacts will have to be carried out at all levels, gradually leading us to a transition from business models oriented towards profitability objectives to business models integrating responses to the social and environmental challenges of our society. The integration, over the last few years, of a CSR by design approach into the development of POST products and services, the protection of architectural heritage and the sustainable construction of new buildings, and the responsible production and reuse of our employees' clothing are just a few concrete examples.” 

(Source : Groupe POST Luxembourg, 18 mai 2021)

About POST Luxembourg

POST Luxembourg is the country's leading postal and telecommunications operator, offering its services to residential and business customers. Other activities include postal financial services and philately. With over 4,700 employees working for the company and its subsidiaries, the POST Luxembourg Group is one of Luxembourg's leading employers.

Founded in 1842 as an administration, POST Luxembourg has been a public company owned by the Luxembourg State since 1992. Facilitating the communication and transmission of information, data and content between individuals and businesses in Luxembourg and around the world is the vision of the POST Luxembourg Group.

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