Deutsche Post, which owns the DHL courrier service, posted net profit of
€644 million ($878 million) for 2009 after a loss of €1.7 billion the previous year, which was marked by major devaluations of company assets.
Turnover dropped 15 percent to €46.2 billion but chief executive Frank Appel implemented cost-cutting measures which saved the group more than €1 billion, it said in a statement.
As a result, the former German mail monopoly's core earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) reached €1.47 billion, well above Deutsche Post's own outlook of €1.35 billion made in November.
Last year had its share of asset write-downs as well however, in particular owing to the bankruptcy of German retailer Arcandor, which provided lots of business via its Quelle mail-order division.
Deutsche Post subtracted more than €300 million from its books in the last quarter as it restructured operations owing to the lost business.
Fourth quarter sales nonetheless rose from the previous three-month period for the second consecutive quarter, allowing the group "to halt the negative trend created by weakened demand and reduced transport rates."
For 2010, Deutsche Post "foresees a moderate recovery in global transport volumes." It expects core earnings before exceptional items of between €1.6 billions to €1.9 billion and a significant reduction in exceptional charges, which should
allow net profit to post a marked increase.
"Thanks to strict cost management and the consistent implementation of our Strategy 2015, we are now able to benefit overproportionally from the accelerating global economic recovery," the group said.