Germany’s Deutsche Post DHL posted its strongest fourth quarter since 2007, with earnings jumping 38 percent in the three months through December on soaring demand for parcel deliveries from European online shoppers and strong growth in cargo volumes across Asia.
Earnings before interest and taxes rose to 827 million euros ($1.07 billion) from 599 million euros ($778.7 million) in the fourth quarter of 2011, on revenue 3.2 percent higher at 14.6 billion euros ($19 billion), Europe’s biggest express delivery and mail company said.
Deutsche Post said package deliveries exceeded more than 7 million shipments per day for the first time during the Christmas season in Germany as record numbers of consumers shopped online.
All DHL express divisions posted double-digit earnings growth in the quarter and the mail unit benefited from the strong parcel market to boost profit 50 percent from a year ago.
Deutsche Post forecast earnings before interest and taxes to grow to $3.5 billion to $3.8 billion this year from $3.47 billion in 2012, of which DHL is expected to contribute between $2.6 billion and $2.8 billion.
Chief Executive Frank Appel cautioned, however, that market conditions would stay tough for the next few months before improving later in the year.
“If you had asked me (about the 2013 outlook) three weeks ago I probably would have been more positive because I came back from the World Economic Forum (in Davos, Switzerland) with a relatively positive outlook,” Appel said.
“But as you have seen this week and last week, there are decisions which are taking place currently via the fiscal cliff in the U.S. and the election in Italy which create new uncertainty,” he said in an in-house interview.
Full year revenue rose 5.1 percent to $71.5 billion, driven by DHL’s strong presence in growth markets, especially in Asia.
The express unit boosted operating earnings by 21 percent to $1.44 billion, and revenue was 9.3 percent higher at $16.64 billion. Revenue and volumes rose strongly in Asia and the Americas region, where a good performance in the U.S. played a key role.
Global freight forwarding revenue grew 3.6 percent to $20.4 billion with increased ocean and land transport volumes outweighing lower air freight shipments. Earnings rose to $666 million from $572 million.
Supply chain revenue rose 8.4 percent to $18.6 billion on positive currency movements and organic growth in the automotive, life sciences and health care sectors. Operating earnings jumped 14.9 percent to $541 million.