By Jean-Francois Munster
Bpost had a tough second quarter. The public company saw its turnover stagnate (-0.2%) at 1.035 billion and its operating profit (ebit) fall by 22.5% to 82.6 million. While it recorded very good performances in the United States with its e-commerce logistics company Radial (+68% for ebit), its two other business unit – e-logistics Eurasia and Belgium – posted declining operating results (-25.7% for the second). With us, mail volumes fell by a further 7.5% and parcel volumes by 12.9% compared to a comparable basis – it is true – high. In April 2021, Belgium was in confinement, which boosted online purchases. Bpost also had to deal with the infidelities of Amazon, which took back parcel volumes from it and entrusted them to subcontractors. Without this, the decline in the parcel business would have been only 2.9%. According to Dirk Tirez, CEO of bpost, the “hunting” launched by his teams to find new customers and replace Amazon is bearing fruit. “In the first quarter, we had recovered 20% of the lost volumes. In the second, we were at 40%. And the margins we generate with these new customers are higher than those we had with Amazon. Among these new customers, Dirk Tirez cites in particular the second-hand platform, Vinted and the National Lottery.
Faced with these drops in volume, bpost is adapting its organization and reducing its payroll to keep costs under control. 780 full-time equivalents disappeared in one year, but only through natural departures. Even if the unfavorable macroeconomic environment (rise in inflation and therefore in wages, uncertain behavior of consumers in the face of this inflation) remains a source of concern for the rest of the year, bpost has revised the risk slightly downwards slippage potential compared to its initial forecasts of ebit for the whole of the year, estimating that this could go up to 25 million and no longer 40.