* Annual cost savings upped by 70 mln to 400 mln by 2017
* Q4 net 155 million euros vs f'cast 82.4 mln
* Mail delivery prices to rise in Netherlands
* Cash dividend to be reinstated in 2016
* Shares jump 8 pct, hit highest in more than a month
(Rewrites lead, adds share rise, details on TNT Express
By Anthony Deutsch
AMSTERDAM, Feb 25 PostNL is to seek
more cost cuts and is reviving efforts to sell its stake in TNT
Express, aiming to resume dividends and battle back
from a slump in its key mail markets.
Shares in the Netherlands-based group jumped more than 8
percent to their highest in more than a month.
The company, which announced higher-than-expected
fourth-quarter earnings, said it will continue to reduce its
headcount as it aims for an additional 70 million euros ($92
million) in annual costs savings by 2017 - taking total planned
yearly savings to 400 million - to counter declining mail
It will also renew attempts to sell its stake in TNT Express
after United Parcel Service in January dropped its $7
billion planned takeover of the express parcels carrier, in
which PostNL is the largest shareholder.
PostNL has gone through a year of upheaval, marked by
management change, the collapse of the UPS bid and disappointing
The country's former monopoly said between 2,700 and 3,500
jobs will be cut out of a total 33,000, of which between 450 and
650 would be forced redundancies, mostly at its headquarters in
"The delay in the reorganisation, combined with the expected
volume decline of 8 to 10 percent to 2015, triggers the need for
extra cost savings and a clear focus on our pricing policy,"
PostNL said in a statement.
Chief Executive Heerna Verhagen told journalists a new
agreement between TNT Express and PostNL involved an easing in
restrictions in when the TNT stake could be sold. Its stake
would therefore be "more liquid and we can sell more easily when
we want to," Verhagen said.
TNT had given an update on its own prospects as recently as
last week, saying it would sell units in Brazil and China and
cut costs as it prepares for a future alone.
To counter declines in traditional mail delivery services,
PostNL also said it would raise prices for bulk mail by more
than inflation, but didn't give any more specific detail.
PostNL reported a net profit of 155 million euros in the
fourth quarter, beating analysts' average forecast of 82.4
million in a Reuters poll. Revenue rose 2.6 percent to 1.2
billion euros, also ahead of expectations.
The company repeated that it expects to make underlying cash
operating income of between 300 million euros and 370 million by
2015 and would reinstate a cash dividend the year after.
PostNL's shares, which jumped more than 8 percent in morning
trading in Amsterdam and were up 6.8 percent at 1.97 euros by
midday, were trading at their highest since mid-January, when
UPS dropped its bid after European anti-trust regulators said
they would veto it.
According to Starmine SmartEstimates, PostNL shares are
still at a substantial discount to those of its peers.
The stock trades on a forward price-earnings multiple of 3.3
and a ratio of enterprise value (EV) to EBITDA of 4.5. By
comparison, for Germany's Deutsche Post the
respective ratios are 12.2 and 5.2, while for Austrian Post
they are 13.8 and 6.2.
($1 = 0.7598 euros)
(Editing by Sara Webb and David Holmes)