Deutsche Post DHL’s profit edged 2.9 percent higher in the first quarter as strong growth in international express shipments and a boom in German parcel deliveries offset the impact of a weak European economy.
The logistics and mail giant’s operating profit rose to €711 million ($924 million) from €691 million ($898 million) in the first three months of 2012 on revenue 0.6 percent higher at €13.4 billion ($17.5 billion).
First quarter net income, at €498 million ($649 million), was down 5.9 percent from the year earlier result which included a €186 million ($242 million) one-off gain from the sale of Postbank.
“We’ve gotten off to a very solid start for the year in what is a very challenging macroeconomic environment,” said Chief Financial Officer Larry Rosen.
DHL Express was the best performing unit, boosting operating profit by 9.5 percent to $330 million, outpacing a 0.6 percent revenue gain to $3.95 billion.
Global freight forwarding profit rose 1.1 percent to $114.4 million, but revenue declined 1.9 percent to $4.7 billion. Ocean freight traffic grew 2.1 percent to 686,000 20-foot equivalent units on higher demand on north-south and intra-Asia routes, but air freight volume decreased 5.9 percent to 933,000 metric tons on lower demand in the technology, engineering and manufacturing sectors.
The supply chain unit’s profit fell to $109 million from $120 million, and revenue was 2.2 percent higher at $4.5 billion.
The company reiterated that full-year operating profit could rise to as much as $3.83 billion from $3.47 billion in 2012.
DHL should generate earnings of between $2.6 billion and $2.8 billion, further widening the gap with the mail unit, which is forecast to book operating profit of $1.43 billion and $1.56 billion.