CEO Frank Appel at the Annual General Meeting: "We are strongly positioned for a successful future" [Integrator]
After a record year in 2017: financial goals of Strategy 2020 confirmed
Dividend increase to EUR 1.15 per share proposed
E-commerce continuing to generate sustained growth
Change in the Supervisory Board: Chairman Wulf von Schimmelmann steps down
After a very successful year in 2017, Deutsche Post DHL Group, the world's leading mail and logistics company, considers itself to be well on track to achieve its strategic and financial goals for 2020. "We are strongly positioned for a successful future," said CEO Frank Appel at the Group's Annual General Meeting in Bonn. "In 2017, with the current structure in place, we achieved the best result in the history of our company." Appel confirmed the goal of increasing operating profit (EBIT) in the current financial year to EUR 4.15 billion, including the effect of EUR 150 million resulting from the transition to IFRS 16. EBIT would top EUR 5 billion by 2020, he said, adding that this was challenging, but realistic.
All the signs pointed toward solid growth, Appel said. E-commerce was growing further and would remain a key engine for the business of Deutsche Post DHL Group. In 2020, an estimated 2.1 billion people around the world would shop online. Global online revenue would increase to USD 4.1 trillion - assuming e-commerce is simple for customers. "Logistics is the backbone of e-commerce. And we make it really simple. From placing a pick-up order to tracking the current status of an item through to payment." DHL Parcel Europe's network already covered 26 countries, said Appel. Bulgaria, Ireland, Croatia and Romania were added in 2017. More than 60,000 parcel drop-off or pick-up points were available, he said.
Optimism about free trade and globalization
Appel also voiced his optimism with regard to the economic environment, saying that global trade would continue to grow despite many uncertainties. The new DHL Global Trade Barometer also underpinned this trend. "The future is global. Anything else is a misconception," said Appel. "If you build new barriers, you will not be successful in the long term. Walls are not the solution. We want to make tomorrow better than today. To achieve this, we need to grow together even more."
Speaking to shareholders, the CEO made reference to the positive effects of global trade for improving living conditions in many regions of the world. As the world's leading logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL Group was investing globally, he said. "And wherever we invest, we help to ensure that society develops and prosperity grows. Protectionism is the wrong path. No matter where it is or what form it takes."
Review of financial year 2017
Appel expressed his satisfaction with the record results of the past financial year. Thanks to strong performance in all four divisions, Deutsche Post DHL Group had lifted consolidated EBIT by 7.2 percent to EUR 3.74 billion. The Group's revenue was up 5.4 percent to EUR 60.4 billion. Appel thanked the Group's workforce, which numbers approximately 520,000 employees worldwide, for their commitment: "The key to our success is a strong team and the best workforce in the industry."
Dividend increase proposed
In light of the Group's strong business performance, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board proposed a dividend increase of 10 cents (+9.5 percent) to EUR 1.15 per share to the Annual General Meeting. This would be the highest dividend since the company's IPO in 2000.
If approved by the shareholders, the Group would be paying out a total of EUR 1.4 billion. The distribution ratio would be 52 percent. With this the company remains within the target range of 40 percent to 60 percent defined by the Board of Management in 2010. The dividend will be paid on April 27, 2018.
Contributing to people and society
It was important for the Group to have good financial figures, but they were not the be-all and end-all, Appel told shareholders in Bonn. "We manage our business in a way that ensures we make a positive contribution to society," he said, adding that Deutsche Post DHL Group had achieved this again in the past year, as regular customer and employee surveys had shown. The Group had also made excellent progress in the area of climate protection, he said, pointing out that compared with 2007, the company had improved carbon efficiency in logistics by 32 percent. By 2050, our greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be reduced net to zero. To this end, Deutsche Post DHL Group had already got a variety of measures off the ground last year, Appel said. For example, the Group in collaboration with staff and cooperation partners had planted over a million trees. In addition, steps were taken to double production capacity for the StreetScooter, the electric delivery vehicle developed by the Group. The Group already had over 5,500 StreetScooters on the road in Germany, he commented. In the medium term, the company was planning to manufacture around 20,000 cars per year. "E-mobility has finally found its way into people's heads," Appel said. "The StreetScooter's current success is encouraging. It is now time to go up a gear."
Shaping the future of logistics
To accelerate the StreetScooter success story, the Group recently set up the new Board department Corporate Incubations headed by Jürgen Gerdes. This department would also be an incubator for other new innovative and forward-looking ideas, Appel said. New technologies made a lot of things possible. This included hitherto unknown forms of mobility, digital platforms and new processes. "We will invent the future of logistics today," said Appel. Until a successor for Gerdes as member of the Board of Management Post - eCommerce - Parcel had been found, he himself would be taking responsibility for this Board department, the CEO announced.
Changes in the composition of the Supervisory Board
The election of two new representatives to the company's Supervisory Board was also on the agenda of the shareholders' meeting. Dr Ulrich Schröder had stepped down from the Supervisory Board for health reasons. In addition, the term of office of the Supervisory Board chairman Prof. Dr Wulf von Schimmelmann will end as scheduled after today's Annual General Meeting. Speaking to shareholders, CEO Frank Appel praised the achievements of Prof. von Schimmelmann, who had been a member of the Supervisory Board since 2007 and its chairman since 2009: "Wulf von Schimmelmann always gave us major momentum with his steady hand, his vast experience and his pioneering spirit." Appel said that Deutsche Post DHL Group was now excellently positioned and delivered outstanding results. This was also thanks to Schimmelmann, he added.
Dr Günther Bräunig, CEO of KfW Bankengruppe, and Dr Mario Daberkow, a member of the Management Board of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, will be elected as new members of the Supervisory Board. At the first meeting in its new composition to take place after the Annual General Meeting, the Supervisory Board is expected to appoint Dr Nikolaus von Bomhard, the former chairman of the Board of Management of Münchener Rück AG, as the new Supervisory Board chairman from among its members.
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Posted at 22:30