Deutsche Post returns to profit in 2009

German logistics giant Deutsche Post said Tuesday that it swung back into the black last year, following a massive 2008 loss, and was in good shape for 2010.

Deutsche Post returns to profit in 2009
Photo: DPA

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.

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.