Following the economic stagnation that characterised the fourth quarter of 2022, the first quarter of 2023 saw modest growth in Italy, driven by the manufacturing sector, which benefited from falling energy prices and the easing of supply chain bottlenecks. Household consumption remained stable, suffering from an uncertain economic scenario with persistently high inflation.
Against this backdrop, the Poste Italiane Group ended the first quarter of the year with record results thanks to the positive performance of all business lines, with revenues and operating profit up compared to the first quarter of 2022. The Poste Italiane Group, in addition to distinguishing itself through a diversified business structure that allows it to benefit from a balancing effect between the trends affecting its businesses, has historically demonstrated resilience in times of economic uncertainty and financial turbulence, indeed establishing itself as a “safe harbour” for savers, thanks to a portfolio of financial offerings characterised by products with reduced risk exposure and volatility, which ensure churn and lapse rates far below market levels. The Group’s cost structure is flexible, with a significant revenue-related variable cost component. In addition, the Group benefits from the effects of actions implemented during favourable market periods, aimed at mitigating price fluctuations of production inputs or hedging transactions against the risk of fluctuations in fuel prices and gas and energy supplies. The National Collective Labour Agreement in force is valid until the end of 2023.
On 30 March 2023, the strategy update for the current year was presented to the financial community, reviewing the outlook of the various Strategic Business Units and improving the dividend policy for the years 2022 and 2023. The objective of configuring Poste Italiane as a platform company evolving towards a diversified and integrated business model to offer Italians a single, omnichannel access point for an increasingly wide range of products/services was confirmed.
In the Mail, Parcels and Distribution Strategic Business Unit: after a 2022 of substantial stability in the parcels and logistics segment, a return to a growth path is expected for the current year, however conditioned by the uncertainty of the macroeconomic reference variables. Within this scenario, the Group aims to speed its transformation into an “all-round” logistics operator. This strategy includes the acquisition of Plurima, finalised in 2022, to enter the hospital logistics sector, the renewal of the partnership with Amazon for another five years, the recent partnership with DHL, which confirms the Group’s commitment to international business development, and a new partnership to launch the fresh express courier service for home delivery of food products. In the mail segment, the Group will continue to adapt its range and rates, managing the structural decline linked to e-substitution.
In the Financial Services Strategic Business Unit, postal savings will remain at the centre of the Group’s financial services offering, with a renewed and competitive commercial proposition, confirming itself as a simple and transparent tool for savers; at the same time, the net interest income will continue to contribute to revenue supported by market rates.
The Insurance Services Strategic Business Unit is confirming its importance to the Group’s profitability, building on its leading position in the life business and aiming to develop the P&C business with an integrated modular offering of customised protection, assistance and service solutions. As planned, the tender offer of Net Insurance was also finalised, which will accelerate the Group’s growth and profitability in the protection business. The new accounting standard IFRS17, applied with effect from 1 January 2023, introduced a new model for measuring insurance contracts that includes, among other elements, the recognition of the contractual service margin (CSM), which represents the expected value of the margin for the services offered. The CSM stood at €13.2 billion as of 31 March 2023, up from the transitional value recognised (1 January 2022) of approximately €10.5 billion. The new accounting Standard has also introduced a new way of measuring and representing insurance revenue: in profit or loss, profitability is now shown by margins through the allocation to revenue of all costs directly related to insurance contracts, including costs aimed at remunerating the distribution network for the placement and distribution activities of insurance contracts performed by the Parent Company.
With regard to the Payments and Mobile Strategic Business Unit, the acquisition of LIS in 2022, a leader in proximity payments, will ensure an acceleration of the Group’s omnichannel strategy, with the development of new services and leveraging the complementary nature of the tobacconist network with post offices and digital channels. During the period, the new Poste Energia offer for electricity and gas was launched on the market. It is also available online and via app channels, with around 200 thousand contracts subscribed since the offer launch until April. The offer exemplifies the clarity of the business proposition and ease of use of Poste Italiane’s services, ensuring a unique omnichannel customer experience.
Continuing its commitment to the Group’s digital transformation by supporting citizens, businesses and the PA in the digitalisation process, Poste Italiane confirms its role as a strategic pillar by effectively and efficiently connecting the country. The acquisitions of Sourcesense and Agile Lab, finalised in 2022, which operate in IT and data management, respectively, are designed to expedite this digital transformation process by the Group.
As part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the Group will invest in the implementation of “Polis”, a strategic project to support the country’s social cohesion with particular reference to approximately 7,000 municipalities with a population of less than 15,000 inhabitants, turning post offices into the “home of the public administration’s digital services”. Some 250 co-working spaces nationwide are also planned, as well as the implementation of numerous initiatives to support the country’s energy transition.
In the path of 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 the enhancement of building efficiency. The replacement of current Postepay cards with cards made of eco-sustainable materials and with digital cards will also continue, as well as the development of specific offers aimed at enhancing customers’ sustainable behaviour.