UPDATE 1-TNT Express lifts bottom line with cost savings

Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:02am EST

AMSTERDAM Feb 18 (Reuters) - Dutch logistics company TNT Express said on Tuesday its long-term cost savings programme is on track to hit a 240 million euro ($329 million) target by 2015 and boosted profit by 35 million euros last year.

TNT Express was forced to come up with a standalone strategy last year after the European Commission, Europe's market regulator, blocked UPS's 5.2 billion takeover offer because of competition concerns.

TNT Express has cut 4,000 jobs and will get rid of several hundreds more across the globe as part of its cost-reduction strategy, Chief Executive Office Tex Gunning said, announcing that the company met forecasts for adjusted fourth-quarter operating profit and stuck to its 2015 target.

The effect of the cost savings programme was "definitely there and it will continue to be there in 2014 and 2015," Chief Financial Officer Bernard Bot said.

TNT Express swung to an operating profit from continuing operations of 88 million euros, from a loss of 52 million euros a year ago, while revenue fell 4.6 percent to 1.704 billion euros.

The cost cutting programme is aimed at achieving savings of 240 million euros by 2015. By the end of last year it was 20 million euros ahead of schedule, Bot said.

TNT Express shares rose 1.5 percent to 6.86 euros in late morning trading in Amsterdam.

TNT said it was still addressing problems in Italy, where it is shifting to more profitable business but is witnessing a volume decline.

In Brazil, where it has written off about 200 million euros in book value bringing it down to 39 million euros, TNT Express has failed to find a suitable buyer, scrapped the sale of the business and said it will focus on turning the business around.