Deutsche Post sees profit gain; eyes U.S. mail

Deutsche Post sees profit gain; eyes U.S. mail

Deutsche Post AG said fourth-quarter profit rose 65 percent, helped by cost reductions and the inclusion of U.S.-based Airborne Inc. in the results.

Net income increased to 441 million euros ($549 million) from $327 million a year earlier. Sales rose 6.7 percent to $13.6 billion.

Deutsche Post, based in Bonn, has been cutting costs to boost earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to $4.4 billion by next year.

A year ago, the company bought Airborne's ground operations for $1.05 billion to launch its U.S. truck delivery network and compete with United Parcel Service and FedEx Corp.

The company said it expects earnings before interest, tax and amortization to increase by between 5 percent and 10 percent this year from last year's $3.6 billion. The company had targeted $3.5 billion in 2003.

In related news, Deutsche Post is considering an entry into the U.S. domestic postal market, its mail chief Klaus Knappik told Germany's Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.

"An internationalization of our mail business is unthinkable without the U.S. market," Knappik told the paper in an article published in its Tuesday edition. "The letter-post market in the United States is one of the most liberal in the world." He added: "As first steps we could take over collection, addressing or enveloping from our competitors."

The German mail, logistics and banking group depends on its postal business for around two-thirds of its core profit but is set to lose its mail monopoly in Germany in 2007.