TNT Express Volumes Down But Stabilizing

Though first-quarter volumes are down for TNT's Express operation, the company said in a release preceding its earnings announcement the situation has stabilized.

In a preview of items to be discussed during its annual general meeting of shareholders, TNT said Express international volume development in the first quarter of 2009 overall was “in line with indications given on 16 February. The first two weeks of January were severely impacted by factory closures. Weeks 3 to 11 saw volume declines worse than in December 2008, however, the development has stabilized during the quarter,” It went on to say that air volumes were down 23% when compared with the prior-year first quarter. Road volumes were off 15%. Domestic volumes were 8% below Q1 2008; added TNT. “The development during the quarter was stable, in line with the international development.”

The last two weeks of March improved, mainly because of the timing of Easter, this year in Q2 vs. last year in Q1, said TNT. “The yield, as a measure of the price development, was lower than in Q1 2008 mainly because of reduced fuel surcharges in line with lower fuel prices.” The company noted that, “Good progress was made in the cost savings initiatives announced in December 2008. Overall, the operating income for the quarter in Express is expected to be positive, whereas the sharp decline in weeks 1 and 2 and the positive contribution from the Easter timing balance out”.

At the annual general meeting, Peter Bakker, CEO, will update items outlined on February 16, 2009:

Express

  • - Implement structural cost savings (network)
  • - Manage country incurred costs down in line with volumes
  • - Continue growth Emerging Platforms

Mail

  • - Master plan initiatives in the Netherlands
  • - CLA negotiations to more market conform levels
  • - Continue growth Emerging Mail & Parcels

Group

  • - Focus on cash
  • - Potential Royal Mail strategic partnership
  • - Delivery solutions

Also on the agenda is an update on the labor agreement TNT reached with its Netherlands operations employees in Mail. Teh agreement still must be ratified by employees. If ratified, it will save the company €125 million ($165.5 million) per year. Those savings, says TNT, are an important part of the annual savings of €395 million ($522.9 million) targeted by 2015. (

TNT also saw its cash payment for pensions in 2009 reduced from an expected €140 million ($185.3 million) to €50 ($66.2 million) as a result of a decision by the Netherlands' Minister of Social Affairs and Employment to extend the period during which a pension plan needs to recover its fincnaical buffers. That period was extended from three years to five.

TNT will publish its 2009 first quarter results on May 4, 2009.

TNT recently announced an alliance with Con-way Freight in the US. For information, see:

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