UPDATE 1-PostNL turns to Q1 loss on TNT Express writedown

Tue May 7, 2013 2:22am EDT

AMSTERDAM May 7 (Reuters) - Dutch mail group PostNL swung to a first-quarter loss because of a 440 million euro ($575 million) writedown on its stake in TNT Express after UPS withdrew its takeover offer for the Dutch express delivery firm.

PostNL said it still plans to sell its stake of about 30 percent in TNT Express and reiterated its outlook for the full year for underlying cash operating income of 20 to 60 million euros.

The Dutch mail firm, which has seen its underlying business steadily decline, suffered a big setback when the European Commission blocked UPS's $7 billion takeover of TNT Express on competition concerns, resulting in a sharp decline in the share price.

"The book value of the stake in TNT Express at the end of Q1 2013 amounted to 927 million euros, 440 million euros lower than at the end of 2012," PostNL said in a statement, turning to a quarterly loss of 410 million euros from a profit of 633 million euros in the same period last year.

First-quarter operating income, excluding pension payments and currency effects fell 27 percent to 82 million euros. Revenue was flat at 1.07 billion euros.

PostNL has been struggling to turn around business with declining volumes eroding profit in its traditional core market of mail and package delivery in the Netherlands.

In February, PostNL said it would seek 400 million euros of savings this year as part of an ongoing reorganisation aimed at resuming dividends and reducing the workforce to make up for declining business.

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