Speaking at the annual general meeting held at Corinthia San Gorg, MaltaPost chairman Joseph Said reported to shareholders that over the past year, MaltaPost improved its service to unprecedented levels. This he said was shown by the many awards the company received over the past months.
MaltaPost received the Universal Postal Union Quality of Service Award for the implementation of reform in distribution. PostEurop, following an independent assessment, acknowledged the level of excellence reached in process management while, just a few days ago, the International Postal Corporation classed Malta in second place among 34 European countries on the basis that 96 per cent of international mail reaches Malta within 24 hours. Considering that MaltaPost handles over 200,000 items of mail daily, these achievements are considered to be commendable.
Also, in a survey held in 2008 by the Malta Communications Authority, a very high level of satisfaction was registered among MaltaPost’s clients.
Announcing the financial results, Mr Said reported that gross revenue during 2009 was less than in the previous year since 2008 was the year of the general elections and the introduction of the euro. The downtrend in letters delivered is on the same lines as in other countries but it is counterbalanced by an increase in delivery of packages.
The company registered a gross profit increase of 5.6 per cent and a profit before tax of e3 million.
Mr Said explained that the reason for a decrease in return on equity compared to 2008 was only because many shareholders chose to take their 2008 dividends in company shares rather than cash and consequently shareholders’ funds increased by more than 20 per cent.
The company has continued with its programme to refurbish its branches and most of these were now upgraded. Works on a new facility for its courier and parcels service at Marsa are also under way.
The board of directors recommended a net final dividend of four cents per share and once again shareholders were given the option of receiving their dividend in shares or in cash.
During question time, Mr Said explained that MaltaPost carried virtually no bank debt and was reserving its liquidity for this to be invested in a wider and improved branch network as well as for investment in future projects.
Mr Said stated that the dividend policy adopted by the company was a prudent one which was aimed to ensure consistency and sustainability. The company, he said, preferred long-term gains thus increasing the underlying value of its shares rather than opt for the declaration of high dividend levels.
It would seem that most of the shareholders were in agreement with this philosophy since only about 20 per cent of the dividend declared would be distributed in cash as the remaining 80 per cent would be taken in new MaltaPost shares.