Poste Italiane’s solid performance in the first quarter acquires even more value because it occurred in a year that began in a general economic scenario strongly conditioned by a number of factors, which are affecting the future growth prospects and consequently the sentiments of the markets. As the Company analyses in a note, geopolitical tensions due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, inflation, interest rate hikes and the latest lockdowns imposed by the Chinese government due to the upsurge in Covid-19 infections pose the main challenges to general economic growth, which are leading the main banks and international institutions to revise the growth estimates for the current year downwards and which heighten the general context of volatility and turbulence on the markets.
Future forecasts are therefore closely linked to changes in the reference scenario and in particular to the duration and extent of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and its repercussions on the prices of commodities, the limited availability of production factors and energy flows. The Italian government – Poste continues – took action to mitigate the effects of the increases in the price of commodities by introducing specific obligations on procurement procedures subject to the Public Procurement Code, namely by acting directly on the components of energy and gas prices.
The “safe haven” of Italians
Historically, the Poste Italiane Group has shown resilience in times of financial turbulence, confirming itself to be a “safe haven” for savers thanks to a portfolio of financial products characterised by limited volatility that will continue to keep Postal Savings at the heart of the development strategy, even in the future. The Group’s cost structure, in addition, includes limited exposure to sectors with high pressure on prices. The Group procures supplies and competes mainly in the domestic market, does not have production units in the countries affected by the conflict or bordering countries, and has limited commercial relationships with the countries affected by the conflict. Therefore, it does not have direct repercussions that could significantly affect the various businesses or lead to significant repercussions on its profitability. The Group also benefits from actions implemented in favourable market times, intended to mitigate the fluctuations in the prices of production factors, such as hedging against the risk of fuel price fluctuations or signing supply contracts with “locked” prices for the entire current year and part of 2023.
The future strategy
As confirmation of this, the results achieved in the first quarter are solid, with higher revenue than in 2021 and operating income that benefits from the continuous focus by management on cost control and optimisation. In line with the strategy set out in the “24SI Plus” Business Plan, which envisages the differentiation of the offer into market segments with high growth prospects, in May the Group concluded the acquisition of Plurima, a leading company in healthcare logistics. The acquisition of the company LIS will also accelerate the implementation of the Group’s omni-channel strategy, facilitating the transition to digital payments and strengthening the growth of proximity payment in the business. The development of the insurance savings and Postal Savings segments will remain strategic; in these segments the commitment to the digitisation of the offer and of customers will continue, in addition to the development of initiatives aimed at improving customer experience on the physical channel. Investments are planned in support of the growth of parcels, digital payments and protection, with offers aimed at reducing underinsurance in Italy.
Carbon neutrality and energy
During the transition towards carbon neutrality by 2030, investments and strategic initiatives will continue, such as the renewal of the delivery fleet with low emission vehicles, the installation of photovoltaic panels for energy supply and efficiency measures for properties. Finally, entry into the energy sector was confirmed during the year, with a 100% green offer based exclusively on renewable sources.