TNT profits slip as cost-savings targets are hiked

TNT yesterday reported a 45 per cent fall in quarterly core profit, its fourth consecutive year-on-year decline, and the Dutch mail company boosted its cost savings target to cope with weaker demand for delivery services.<br /><br />Europe&rsquo;s second-largest mail and express delivery company after Deutsche Post also decided to issue an interim dividend of &euro;0.18 per share on the back of strong cash flow, which analysts took as a sign of a nascent recovery.<br /><br />The cash or shares dividend payment was a first sign of confidence in underlying operations and dividends would continue if cash conditions remained strong, chief executive Peter Bakker said, but added that tough conditions would continue.<br /><br />&ldquo;The global economy, and Europe, are still in a recession and we cannot say for sure when we can expect a recovery,&rdquo; Bakker said.<br /><br />TNT posted earnings of &euro;178m, compared with analysts&rsquo; forecasts of &euro;184m and &euro;324m a year earlier.