Aust Post delivers $281m profit

Aust Post delivers $281m profit

Australia Post will be delivering on the weekends for two months in the lead-up to Christmas as it announces plans to ramp up its parcel network and create digital mail boxes.

The government-owned corporation made the announcement as it posted a $281 million profit for 2011/12, up 17 per cent on the previous year.

It will also pay a dividend to the federal government of $214 million.

Australia Post's parcels and retail operation made a $546 million profit for the year which outweighed a loss of $148 million in its regulated mail business due to falling mail volumes.

Chief executive Ahmed Fahour said Australia Post's strong profit growth had enabled it to invest more than $2 billion in upgrading its national parcel network and providing every Australian with a free digital mail box.

"Without this investment, we cannot sustain the enormous demand for parcel services and continue the high level of service and reliability we've always delivered to Australians," Mr Fahour said.

Australia Post will also continue to roll out its 24/7 parcel lockers and superstores with the aim that 80 per cent of Australians in metropolitan areas will be within 10 minutes drive of an after-hours parcel location by 2014.

Mr Fahour said Australia Post is anticipating that this Christmas will be busier than ever and has therefore implemented a plan to cope with the increase in mail volumes.

This includes delivering parcels on weekends during November and December and extending opening hours for parcel collections and retail outlets.

Mr Fahour said the digital mail box, which will be launched next month, would enable Australians to receive mail from governments and businesses through a secure website.

"This is not email because it has no spam, it is not open to having other people intercept it as easily as email and you'll be able to do your payments (on it)," he said.

As well as decreasing volumes in traditional mail, Mr Fahour said revenue for the regulated mail business was also declining due to the price of stamps being outstripped by inflation.

"Stamp prices over the last 20 years have only gone up at half the rate of inflation," he said.

However, he said Australia Post had not asked and did not plan to ask the government if it could increase the price of stamps.

"I think we have a very satisfactory return, we're managing our expenses very well and at this stage we haven't got, nor have we asked for stamp price increase," he said.

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