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Trend reversal: Increase in sales at Österreichische Post AG

Pressemeldung from 8/28/2003

Staff cuts significantly above plan
Supervisory Board decides for 4-person Management Board and acquisition in Croatia

This is the first time that the long-term negative trend in sales figures at Österreichische Post AG has been reversed. Sales revenues increased in the first half of 2003 from € 739.2 million in the same period of the previous year to € 739.6 million.

Development of sales volume by divisions
In the Letter division, sales in the first half of 2003 declined to € 352.7 million as compared to € 354.7 million as registered for the first half of 2002. However, the division managed to reserve the two-year decline in sales in the key domestic business segment in June, due above all to the rate adjustment having taken effect at the beginning of June. The second quarter of 2003 witnessed an increase in sales for the entire division as compared to the second quarter of the previous year.
The Media Services division managed to step up sales by 13 percent, from € 48.1 million to € 54.5 million as compared to the previous year, thanks to a positive development in the highly competitive newspaper delivery market.
The Info-Mail division recorded a decline in sales from € 169.0 million in the first half of 2002 to € 162.5 million. However, an improvement in terms of sales figures can be discerned in the “Info.Post” segment, i.e. non-addressed advertising.
In the Courier.Express.Parcel (CEP) division, sales revenues are above last year’s value, at € 78.3 million as compared to € 76.8 million in the first half of 2002. The reason for this improvement is the positive development of the mail order business in the second quarter.
The Branch Network division increased its sales volume by € 3.8 million as compared to the same period in 2002, from € 85.5 million to € 89.3 million.  This positive development in the branch offices is due above all to excellent sales figures in the financial products and retail segments (stationery, gifts, CDs, and other supplementary articles).

Reversal of trend discernible for profit on ordinary activities and EBIT
A comparison of the first-half-of-the-year values for 2003 with those of the entire financial year 2002 also indicates a trend reversal. Profit on ordinary activities during the first half of 2003 amounted to € 6.0 million, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to € 6.4 million. At the end of the financial year 2002, profit on ordinary activities was € 18.7 million, and EBIT € 11.1 million. Due to this development, Österreichische Post AG’s Management Board expects a significantly more positive overall result than last year.

HR development
Payroll costs have been reduced from € 496.5 million in the same period last year to € 490.6 million. In the first half of 2003, the highly ambitious targets with respect to staff reductions have not only been met, but significantly exceeded. In the first half of 2003, Österreichische Post AG employed an average of 27,202 full-time equivalents, which corresponds to a reduction by 1,736 full-time equivalents as compared to the same value in 2002. The success of the restructuring program thus is now also being reflected in HR figures.
Eastern and Southern Europe business offensive continues
Today’s meeting of the Supervisory Board confirmed Österreichische Post AG’s course of expansion towards Eastern and Southern Europe. The Supervisor Board also approved the acquisition of a Croatian parcel service company.
Supervisory Board opts for four-person Management Board
Peter Michaelis, chairman of Österreichische Post AG’s Supervisory Board, said after today’s meeting: “The Supervisory Board has decided today to entrust the management of Österreichische Post AG again to a four-person Management Board. Jörg Kaniak will leave the Board for age reasons. Consequently, two new members of the Management Board will have to be appointed. The Supervisory Board also agreed to issue the respective call for applications as early as possible under the pertinent legal provisions so that the successful restructuring drive can be continued seamlessly and without delay. The new Management Board is supposed to start working at the beginning of 2004.”

For more information please contact:
Österreichische Post AG 
Company communication
Press section/ PR
Michael Homola
Tel.: +43 (1) 515 51 - 32010

Vienna, 28 August 2003

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