* Dividend payment "difficult" due to weak cash position
* Q3 hit by cut in valuation of TNT Express stake
* Q3 op loss 128 mln euros vs f'cast EBIT 67.4 mln
* Sees FY mail volumes down 10 pct, top of 8-10 pct f'cast
* Shares down more than 7 percent
(Rewrites first paragraph, adds CFO comments and background,
By Anthony Deutsch
AMSTERDAM, Nov 5 PostNL NV warned that
a drop in the value of its stake in TNT Express had
sent it to a hefty loss and would make it tough to afford a
dividend, sending its shares sharply lower.
The Dutch postal group had planned to make a payout using
income from the sale of its 30 percent stake in TNT Express, an
express parcel service, but the value of this had fallen 180
million euros ($231.2 million) from the second quarter to 1.3
billion euros, the company said on Monday.
And like other postal companies, PostNL is also suffering
from declining mail volumes, which fell a sharper-than-expected
10 percent in the Netherlands in the latest quarter.
Shares in PostNL, still the largest shareholder in TNT
Express, were down 7.6 percent at 2.879 euros by 1046 GMT. TNT
Express shares fell nearly 4 percent.
The company said declining mail volumes and a lower
valuation for its TNT Express stake would propel full-year
underlying operating profit to the bottom half of analysts'
forecast range of between 110 million euros and 160 million.
Chief Financial Officer Jan Bos said on a conference call a
quick return to the payment of a cash dividend would be
difficult due to the delay in the sale of the TNT Express stake
In the third quarter, PostNL said it fell to an operating
loss of 128 million euros compared with a profit of 66 million
in the 2011 period. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected
earnings before interest and taxation of 67.4 million euros.
The decline was caused by one-off costs of 188 million
euros, mostly due to the declining value of its TNT Express
stake, and a 10 percent drop in mail volumes - at the top end of
the range of what it had said it expected.
The company had previously said in its 2012 outlook that
mail volumes would fall between 8 percent and 10 percent.
United Parcel Service Inc has agreed to buy TNT
Express, which was split from PostNL in 2011, for 5.2 billion
euros ($6.7 billion), but the deal is being held up by European
The European Union's antitrust chief said last month UPS and
TNT would have to offer concessions to secure regulatory
As part of the UPS deal, PostNL has been able to sell or
transfer its shares since September, but has held off because
the current price of 7.81 euros is below the offer price of 9.50
euros per share.
PostNL lowered the book value of the TNT Express holding in
line with a share price fall over the last quarter.
Bos also said capital expenditure for 2012 had been reduced
to around 200 million euros ($257 million) from 240 million.
($1 = 0.7785 euros)
(Editing by Mark Potter and David Holmes)