Swiss Post Group has reported that its profit and operating profit were significantly lower in 2020 than in the previous year. Group profit totaled CHF178m (US$192.5m), down CHF77m (US$83m) on the previous year. Operating profit decreased from CHF450m (US$486.5m) year-on-year, falling to CHF272m (US$294m).
Swiss Post noted that the decline was due partly to a continuation of trends such as the fall in letter volumes and the negative interest rate situation at the Group’s PostFinance arm. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated some of these trends and brought new challenges for all of Swiss Post’s units and markets: a parcel boom on the one hand, but additional protective measures and staff pressures, fewer letters and fewer over-the-counter transactions at Swiss Post branches on the other.
“The pandemic was a major challenge for all of our employees and for the entire Swiss Post management. For example, we processed an unprecedented volume of parcels under difficult conditions and delivered them reliably to all corners of Switzerland. Given the variety of major challenges we faced due to coronavirus, we can be satisfied with last year’s result on balance, despite the fact that it is poorer than in previous years,” said Roberto Cirillo, CEO of Swiss Post.
However, in 2020, the Post delivered around 23% more parcels than in the previous year, which led to very good operating profit at PostLogistics. Despite this growth, parcels were not able to offset the negative impact of the coronavirus crisis on all Swiss Post units.
The post recorded that the number of addressed letters fell by 5.6% last year, to 1,705.6 million, though the letters business remained the most significant contribution to the Group result. Swiss Post also took advantage of the resources available in letter processing to take the pressure off parcel logistics. This allowed the processing of up to 150,000 small parcels a day at the letter centers.
The Group’s chairman of the board of directors, Urs Schwaller, has decided to step down from his role as of December 2021. “It’s the right time for Swiss Post and for me. We have systematically rectified past errors and implemented wide-ranging measures to ensure that similar incidents cannot happen again. But above all, we have set the main course for Swiss Post’s future viability.
“The new Swiss Post strategy ensures that we can accommodate our customers’ changing requirements and guarantee the future of the universal service with our competitive edge. This means that I can hand over the chairmanship of the Board of Directors on an optimistic note.”
The Swiss Federal Council will select a successor and put their name forward to the board of directors for a vote.