(Reuters) - Belgium's postal operator, Bpost, on Thursday reported a drop in quarterly core profit but beat analysts' estimates, driven by mail revenue and Belgian parcel volumes.
Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell 16.8% to 68.7 million euros ($75.18 million) in the second quarter, from 82.6 million euros in the year-ago period.
Analysts polled by the company had forecast an adjusted EBIT of 60.6 million euros for the quarter.
Bpost did not provide a full new guidance for 2023 after it withdrew the previous one in April following a compliance review of its services with the Belgian state, but it issued new outlooks for two units.
Bpost now expects 4-6% growth for its Belgian operations, up from a previous forecast of 3-5%, and a 7-9% EBIT margin, up from a prior outlook of 6.5-8.5%.
For its second-biggest unit, parcels and logistics in North America, Bpost estimated a low double-digit percentage drop in operating income, instead of a slight decline expected previously. This is due to price pressures and e-commerce platform Amazon.com opting for its affiliate Landmark Global for deliveries, it added.
An internal compliance review launched last October revealed possible policy violations regarding Bpost’s state concession for the distribution of newspapers.
The group later announced additional probes, saying it may have overcharged the government on a total of three contracts, including newspaper distribution, which generated a combined value of 104 million euros in revenue in 2022. The government has also launched an investigation.
Bpost’s interim CEO, Philippe Dartienne, said in a statement that a clearer picture of the potential financial fallout of these cases “will significantly reduce the current uncertainty.”
“If it is established that Bpost has overcharged, these amounts will be reimbursed,” the group’s chairperson, Audrey Hanard, told journalists on a conference call.
($1 = 0.9138 euro)
(Reporting by Victor Goury-Laffont in Gdansk; Editing by Richard Chang and Matthew Lewis)