(Australian Associated Press)
The same sex marriage survey has delivered a boost to business for Australia Post, but not enough to arrest the decade-long decline in the number of letters handled by the national carrier.
Australia Post delivered 28.7 million same sex marriage survey forms and responses in the six months to December 31, but overall letter volumes were still 10 per cent lower than a year ago.
“Without this survey, addressed letter volumes would have experienced an even sharper decline,” chief executive Christine Holgate said.
Letter volumes, which peaked in 2008, have now fallen by 26 per cent over the past three years.
Nonetheless, Australia Post on Tuesday reported a 65 per cent rise in first-half profit to $217 million after parcel revenue jumped 7.8 per cent.
It also netted a $44 million one-off gain from property transactions.
Parcel revenue, at $1.71 billion, accounted for nearly half of Australia Post’s total revenue of $3.54 billion over the period.
Chief financial officer Janelle Hopkins said the segment, although subject to stiff competition, was thriving due to online retail.
“The strength of demand from eCommerce retailers, both here in Australia and overseas, saw our domestic parcel volumes increase by 11 per cent and international inbound parcels up 45 per cent, respectively,” Ms Hopkins said.
Ms Holgate, presenting her first results since succeeding Ahmed Fahour as chief executive, said international parcels represented a key growth opportunity.
She said she had yet to complete the strategic review she kicked off in October, but said that Australia Post was creating a dedicated international business unit.
“There is a massive growth opportunity right now in cross-border logistics, especially in the growth markets of Asia,” Ms Holgate said.
“Ultimately, by building our capabilities in international logistics, we will create new sources of revenue that will support our domestic networks and secure the jobs of our people.”
AUSTRALIA POST’S FIRST HALF
* Net profit up 65.1pct to $217m
* Revenue up 2.2pct to $3.535b