SINGAPORE: Singapore Post (SingPost) said on Friday (Feb 1) its third-quarter net profit rose nearly 16 per cent year-on-year, largely due to a one-time gain from the dilution of its stake in a Chinese company.
Net profit for the three months ended Dec 31 was S$50.2 million, an increase of 15.6 per cent from the same quarter a year ago, the national postal agency said.
During the quarter, its stake in logistics firm 4PX was reduced with the issuance of additional 4PX shares to an existing shareholder of the China-based company.
Excluding exceptional items, SingPost's underlying net profit for the quarter was down 7.5 per cent from last year at S$32.9 million.
Revenue rose 7.6 per cent to S$441.4 million on the back of stronger contributions across all business segments during the global e-commerce peak season.
However, profit on operating activities fell 8.5 per cent to S$42.2 million as the higher contributions were largely offset by losses at its US e-commerce businesses, said SingPost.
Festive shopping in the US resulted in higher volumes for the e-commerce segment, but costs rose significantly to support the increased volumes, SingPost said.
The company also noted challenges in the e-commerce operating environment in the US because of intensifying competition and rising customer bankruptcies. It expects its US businesses to continue making losses this financial year.
Profit on operating activities from property rose 18.2 per cent, mainly due to rental income from the SingPost Centre retail mall. Committed occupancy for the mall was at 99 per cent as at Dec 31, 2018, compared with 86 per cent a year ago, said the company.
“It has been an exceptional quarter, with strong performance across the group, other than the US which remains challenging," said SingPost CEO Paul Coutts.
An interim dividend of 0.5 cent per ordinary share will be paid on Feb 28, SingPost said.
The postal agency has been in the spotlight recently due to a spate of lapses.
In mid-January, SingPost apologised to customers for its "service deterioration" over the past few weeks, and cited a tremendously busy November to December period for its poor service quality.
Just two weeks later, a postman serving areas in Ang Mo Kio was arrested after a resident said she found unopened mail in a rubbish bin, prompting the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) to investigate the matter.