Press Release

Swiss Post delivers strong performance despite lower annual result

In 2020, Swiss Post generated Group profit of 178 million francs, down 77 million francs year-on-year. At 272 million francs, operating profit (EBIT) was down 178 million francs. Coronavirus has been a major challenge for Swiss Post in all units. In the face of the diversity and scale of this challenge, Swiss Post management is satisfied with the result. The pandemic clearly shows that Swiss Post’s new strategy is both important and correct. Swiss Post must invest and act sustainably now to ensure that it can continue to guarantee the universal service from its own resources in the future.

As expected, Swiss Post’s Group profit and operating profit were significantly lower in 2020 than in the previous year. Profit totalled 178 million francs, down 77 million francs on the previous year. Operating profit decreased from 450 million francs year-on-year, falling to 272 million francs. The decline was due partly to trends that were already in place, such as the fall in letter volumes and the negative interest rate situation at PostFinance. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated some of these trends and brought new challenges for all of Swiss Post’s units and markets: a veritable parcel boom on the one hand, but additional protective measures and staff, fewer letters and fewer over-the-counter transactions at Swiss Post branches on the other. At PostBus, the number of passengers fell considerably, even as PostBus maintained a basic service for the public. Overall, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have reduced the Group result by 139 million francs. “The pandemic was a major challenge for all of our employees and for the entire Swiss Post management. For example, we processed an unprecedented volume of parcels under difficult conditions and delivered them reliably to all corners of Switzerland. Given the variety of major challenges we faced due to coronavirus, we can be satisfied with last year’s result on balance, despite the fact that it is poorer than in previous years,” says Roberto Cirillo, CEO of Swiss Post. Within this context, the annual result was expected, but it also represents a strong performance.

Parcel boom cannot offset declines in other areas

In 2020, Swiss Post delivered around 23 percent more parcels than in the previous year. These huge parcel volumes, as well as an increase in insurance services, led to very good operating profit at PostLogistics. It came in at a total of 201 million francs, up 73 million francs year-on-year. However, the fact is that the high parcel volumes cannot offset the negative impact of the coronavirus crisis on all Swiss Post units.

More parcels, fewer letters: pooled use of resources

The pandemic has accelerated the decline in letter volumes. The number of addressed letters fell by 5.6 percent last year, to 1,705.6 million. In 2020, PostMail achieved an operating profit of 293 million francs. This remains the most significant contribution to the Group result, notwithstanding the fall of 77 million francs year-on-year. Swiss Post took advantage of the resources available in letter processing to take the pressure off parcel logistics. This allowed the processing of up to 150,000 small parcels a day at the letter centers. The close cooperation between staff at the letter and parcel centers was efficient and effective. Since the beginning of 2021, letter and parcel processing have been consolidated into the same unit. This consolidation establishes the logistical basis for Switzerland’s future universal postal service.

Pandemic impacts all Swiss Post units

The coronavirus pandemic affected all Swiss Post units. PostalNetwork generated a negative operating result of –105 million francs. Although this represented an increase of 27 million francs in the operating result at PostalNetwork year-on-year, the prior-year result had been negatively impacted by the recognition of a provision of 41 million francs. While there was indeed a big increase in parcel business at the branches (+19 percent) in 2020, the declines in payment transactions (–15 percent) and letter volumes (–10 percent), which have been ongoing for some time, have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
PostFinance’s operating profit totalled some 161 million francs, down 79 million francs year-on-year. Of this, 22 million francs is the result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic: as people travelled much less, there was a decrease in conversion gains from foreign currency cash withdrawals at ATMs in Switzerland and abroad and from the use of credit cards. Otherwise, the fall in profit is primarily due to the ongoing negative interest rate environment and declining net trading income. Against the backdrop of this challenging environment, Swiss Post welcomes the political debate initiated by the Federal Council concerning the future of PostFinance and the future structure and financing of the universal service for payment transactions in Switzerland.
Swiss Post Solutions generated new business amounting to 302 million francs last year, up 93 million francs year-on-year. However, exchange rate effects and losses due to the pandemic also caused operating profit at Swiss Post Solutions to fall by 7 million francs to 25 million francs.
Finally, the pandemic has had a severe impact on the passenger transport market. The Federal Council’s recommendation last spring that the general public should avoid public transport wherever possible led to a sharp drop in demand and revenues at PostBus. Despite this, PostBus maintained the basic service mandated by the Confederation. In its wake, the operating result fell to –79 million Swiss francs, down 55 million francs year-on-year. Most of this amount (48 million francs) was a direct consequence of the pandemic. As a licensed enterprise in regional passenger transport, PostBus may not generate planned profits. Any surpluses must be paid into the statutory reserves. PostBus must cover any losses in income caused by the pandemic out of these reserves. In regional transport, PostBus is not entitled to receive any of the financial support for public transport decided on by Parliament.

Swiss Post is taking the right path

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that Swiss Post is right here for the people of Switzerland, even in times of crisis, and that it is a key player in the Swiss economy. The restrictions on public life highlighted the importance of Swiss Post’s role in the provision of Switzerland’s basic services. It was only because Swiss Post delivered goods to people’s homes that the public continued to be supplied with all necessities. CEO Roberto Cirillo is convinced: “The pandemic shows us that the people and businesses of Switzerland need a well-functioning Swiss Post. At the same time, we have proven that Swiss Post can be relied upon, even in challenging times.” Chairman of the Board of Directors Urs Schwaller explains: “The new Group strategy, which we have been implementing for two months now, strengthens Swiss Post as a public service company. A high-quality universal service throughout the country is our most important goal, and this will remain the case. That’s why it is essential to have a comprehensive debate about the universal service in Parliament in the near future. We need clarity on the future of both the universal postal service and the universal service for payment transactions.”
Swiss Post wants to ensure that it can continue to provide the universal service from its own financial resources in the long term. It is already on course to do so. Since the beginning of 2021, it has merged its letter and parcel logistics within its organizational structure, allowing it to harness additional synergies. According to CFO Alex Glanzmann, efficiency measures of this kind are as important for the coming years as up-to-date price adjustments, targeted investment and growth in clearly defined markets: “We will not only invest in our logistics, but also in trustworthy digital communication. Swiss Post wants to support the people and businesses of Switzerland on their journey into the digital future.” And Glanzmann reiterates: “Swiss Post has a stable financial basis and a healthy equity and liquidity situation. This helps us to tackle the issue of planned growth so that we can continue to provide the universal service from our own resources in the future.”

Group key figures
Unit
Full year 2019
Full year 2020
Group key figures
Operating income
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
7'168 
Full year 2020
7'054
Group key figures
Operating profit (EBIT)
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
450 
Full year 2020
272
Group key figures
Group profit
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
255
Full year 2020
178
Group key figures
Total assets
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
132'544
Full year 2020
124'274
Group key figures
Equity
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
6'834
Full year 2020
6'906
Group key figures
Investments
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
443
Full year 2020
401
Group key figures
Headcount at Swiss Post Group 
Unit
FTEs
Full year 2019
39,670
Full year 2020
39,089
Group key figures
Headcount at Swiss Post Group
Unit
Persons
Full year 2019
55,915
Full year 2020
54,364
PostFinance Ltd key figures
Unit
Full year 2019
Full year 2020
PostFinance Ltd key figures
Number of customers
Unit
In thousands
Full year 2019
2,738
Full year 2020
2,685
PostFinance Ltd key figures
Customer assets
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
119,660
Full year 2020
123,679
PostFinance Ltd key figures
Customer assets in partner solutions
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
12,808
Full year 2020
14,490
PostFinance Ltd key figures
Mortgages
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
5,965
Full year 2020
6,039
PostFinance Ltd key figures
Development of customer deposits
Unit
CHF million
Full year 2019
247
Full year 2020
4,019
PostFinance Ltd key figures
Headcount
Unit
FTEs
Full year 2019
3,243
Full year 2020
3,260

Selected key figures per segment

Operating income (CHF million)
SegmentFull year 2019Full year 2020
Operating income (CHF million)
Communication market
Segment
PostMail
Full year 2019
2,615
Full year 2020
2,526
Operating income (CHF million)
Communication market
Segment
Swiss Post Solutions
Full year 2019
599
Full year 2020
539
Operating income (CHF million)
Communication market
Segment
PostalNetwork
Full year 2019
693
Full year 2020
631
Operating income (CHF million)
Logistics market
Segment
PostLogistics
Full year 2019
1,712
Full year 2020
1,933
Operating income (CHF million)
Financial services market
Segment
PostFinance
Full year 2019
1,660
Full year 2020
1,566
Operating income (CHF million)
Passenger transport market
Segment
PostBus
Full year 2019
841
Full year 2020
809

Operating profit (CHF million)SegmentFull year 2019Full year 2020
Operating profit (CHF million)
Communication market
Segment
PostMail
Full year 2019
370
Full year 2020
293
Operating profit (CHF million)
Communication market
Segment
Swiss Post Solutions
Full year 2019
32
Full year 2020
25
Operating profit (CHF million)
Communication market
Segment
PostalNetwork
Full year 2019
-132
Full year 2020
-105
Operating profit (CHF million)
Logistics market
Segment
PostLogistics
Full year 2019
128
Full year 2020
201
Operating profit (CHF million)
Financial services market
Segment
PostFinance
Full year 2019
240
Full year 2020
161
Operating profit (CHF million)
Passenger transport market
Segment
PostBus
Full year 2019
-24
Full year 2020
-79