France's postal service has announced an increase of 44% in operating profits for the first half of the year, driven largely by local and international parcel services, while mail volume continues to decrease.
Like many postal services around the world, La Poste is seeing traditional revenues from mail fall off dramatically, chiefly due to the widespread use of email and increasing numbers of companies sending e-bills instead of mailed ones. But thanks to the soaring e-commerce sector and fulfilment houses using mail services to deliver their goods, once-plunging revenues are now starting to rise again.
La Poste reported that its overall operating profit for the first six months of 2015 was €616 million, representing an increase of just over 44% compared to the same period last year. The company's parcels division experienced revenue growth of 2.2% to reach €770 million in the first half of this year, it said.
The postal service's partnership with Swiss Post in international mailing services, Asendia, had combined revenues from January to the end of June 2015 of €236 million: a rise of 9.6% on the same period a year earlier, and a reflection of the ever-increasing demand for e-commerce deliveries.
Elsewhere in La Poste group, the company said it was operating in a highly competitive marketplace but had still managed to notch up revenues in different divisions.
"The subsidiaries positioned in the logistics (Viapost Services) and in the unaddressed advertising material delivery markets (Mediapost), recorded a 2.1% increase in revenue, to €256m, in line with their strategy to win back market share, despite a tense competitive environment in unaddressed advertising in France," the company said.
La Poste said it expects total revenue growth for all of 2015 to be around 3% as it continues to focus on innovations in its services so it can remain competitive in a rapidly changing mail and delivery environment. These include the development of autonomous drones to swiftly deliver parcels, especially to remote parts of the country that are difficult to reach by road, an innovation that's also currently being trialled by Swiss Post, as well as global retail giant Amazon.