Australia Post has delivered a 35.7 per cent fall in annual pre-tax profit, but its parcels and logistics business has recorded a 2.5% growth against a backdrop of falling mail volumes.
The corporation said its pre-tax profit for 2008/09 was $380.9 million, down from the record high of $592.2 million in the previous financial year. Its underlying profit fell 14 per cent on revenue that increased by just 0.5 per cent to $5 billion.
The earnings result was impacted by $127.2 million in superannuation costs and changes to bond rates and property valuations.
Australia Post chairman David Mortimer said the corporation’s focus was now its future, planning to spend $700 million on projects over the next three years.
“This was a very tough year for Australia Post, as it was for businesses throughout the world, but our underlying profit shows that we are still in a strong position," he said. "The board has approved funding for a major upgrade of our point-of-sale technology to drive future growth in our financial and agency services and to build our identity services business.
"We have also invested heavily in upgrading our major IT platforms such as mail production and parcel tracking systems while continuing to upgrade our transport fleet."
The volume of items sent through Australia Post dropped for the first time in six years, with 5.3 billion items handled in 2008/09, down from 5.6 billion in the previous year. Letter volumes fell 4.1 per cent on the previous year.
Australia Post’s parcels and logistics business posted annual revenue of $1.3 billion, up 2.5 per cent on the previous year.
Australia Post paid $499.5 million in taxes and government charges during the year, and will pay an ordinary dividend of $184 million to the government and a special dividend of $38.4 million from 2008/09 earnings. Taxes and dividends in 2007/08 totalled $994.3 million.