Royal Mail profits up 4%

Royal Mail Group made a £184m profit for the first half of the financial year, 4% up on the same period last year, despite a £73m drop in revenue.

The communications group says all four of its businesses; the Post Office, Royal Mail Letters, Parcelforce Worldwide and GLS, its European parcel business remained in profit despite an 8% decline in mail volume, the economic recession and increasing competition from rivals.

Profit at Royal Mail Letters was up to £48m from £46m in the second half of last year, despite a £55m year-on-year drop in revenue, which Royal Mail says was driven by modernisation.

Strike action from the Communication Workers Union in October saw postal workers take part in a series of 48-hour walkouts.

Royal Mail says it is “too early to assess the impact of the CWU’s latest strike action” on the business.

The union agreed to cease strike action in the run up to Christmas and restart talks in 2010.

Royal Mail says rival communications companies “continue to have a significant impact” on operations. Despite their reliance on Royal Mail for the final delivery of mail, rivals handled almost one in three of the 8.2 million letters it delivered during the period.

The company says the transformation of the business through “modernisation and increased efficiency” is on track with £2bn investment by 2011.

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