Canada Post returns to profit in 2014; revenue higher, costs lower than 2013

OTTAWA – Canada Post Group returned to profitability last year as the postal service cut costs and raised revenue with higher stamp prices and increased demand from Canadians having their online purchases shipped to them.

The group that includes Canada Post, Purolator and other businesses had a $198-million net profit, compared with a $29-million net loss in 2013.

Revenue totalled $7.98 billion, up 5.5 per cent from $7.56 billion in 2013.

The union representing postal workers said Friday that the profit suggests the plan to eliminate door-to-door delivery is unnecessary.

Canada Post converted 100,000 addresses that had door-to-door delivery to community mail boxes in 2014 and plans to convert about 900,000 addresses this year.

“Conversion to community mailboxes only began in 2014, under the spectre of huge financial losses that are just not happening,” said Denis Lemelin, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

“These cuts haven’t contributed meaningfully to cost savings and it’s been nothing but problems for seniors, people with disabilities and victims of increased mail theft.”

The overall improved results came as the main Canada Post business earned $148 million last year on revenue of $6.21 billion, compared with a loss of $75 million on $5.88 billion in revenue in 2013.

Transaction mail — letters, bills and the like — generated $3.2 billion of revenue for the postal service last year. Canada Post said it had $238 million more revenue from transaction mail last year, mostly because of new pricing that took effect last March.

Meanwhile, parcel delivery generated $1.5 billion of revenue in 2014, up $120 million from 2013, due to surging demand from businesses filling orders placed by online customers.

Direct marketing customers who deliver advertising and publications through Canada Post generated $1.2 billion of revenue, down $37 million from 2013, due to electronic substitution, bill consolidation and competition.

On the cost side, Canada Post said employee benefits at the postal service fell to $4.139 billion from $4.385 billion in 2013. Other operating costs increased to $1.601 billion from $1.509 billion.

Meanwhile, Canada Post Group’s Purolator business earned $53 million, up from $48 million in 2013. Its logistics business, which includes SCI Group, earned $10 million compared with $9 million a year ago.

Canada Post Group also recorded a loss of $13 million in other parts of its business compared with a loss of $11 million a year ago.