Royal Mail parcel volumes increase but mail volumes, and profits, fall

Adjusted operating profits before transformation costs at Royal Mail fell to £165 million from £233 million in the first half of financial year 2018. Revenues at UKPIL, the main parcels and letters business, fell by 1%.

Parcel volumes and revenue grew by 6% but this was offset by a 7% fall in addressed letter mail volumes and revenue.

GLS was a strong part of the wider Royal Mail Group business, with revenues growing 9% to £1.35 billion though adjusted operating profit fell from £90 million to £77 million.

Chief executive Rico Back said: “We have put in place a range of actions to improve our performance. We are reconfirming our commitment to our revised £100 million cost avoidance target and adjusted group operating profit before transformation costs of £500 million – £550 million for the financial year.

“We will update the market next year on our strategy. There will be a greater emphasis on how we connect customers, companies and countries through our domestic and international businesses. There will be a clearer focus on financial performance and management accountability. In March, we will host our first Capital Markets day since IPO in 2013. We will share more detail then about our direction for the next five years.”

The group is forecasting that the decline in letters volumes for the full year will be in line with the first half, while UK parcel volumes and revenue growth will be better than last year.

Back highlighted the importance of GLS in the group’s plans, saying: “Product and geographical diversification is a key and ever-increasing part of our business model.”