An Post raises salary of its chief executive to €500,000 despite recording €25.6m loss
AN POST raised the salary of its chief executive Donal Connell to €500,000 last year, despite recording a loss as customers sent fewer letters and parcels.
Mr Connell's salary and benefits were increased from €493,000 the previous year, the post office said in its annual report.
The group swung to a €25.6m loss in 2009, compared with a €39.9m pre-tax profit a year earlier, as the number of items posted tumbled by 10pc.
Day-to-day costs were reduced by more than €20m to just under €800m, as it cut its work force by the equivalent of 400 full-time jobs.
Sales, including a share of joint ventures, slumped to €819.3m from €864.2m in 2008.
While turnover fell, it would have fallen further had it not been for last year's council elections and an influx of €1.8bn from savers anxious about the stability of other banks.
An Post's losses come as the organisation is struggling to get its house in order before it faces full competition next year.
About 60pc of the market has already been liberalised under EU rules that have opened up postal markets to competition.
The remaining 40pc of the Irish market will be opened to competition from January.
"We are aggressively addressing the economic downturn and the challenges of the fully liberalised mails market," Mr Connell said. "A key part of our strategy, under the 'Do More' banner, is to enable businesses to make better use of mail and to have it work harder for them in this period of national economic recovery."
An Post said it pension fund now had a deficit of €400m. The organisation took a €20.6m hit from a fall in the value of its pension fund assets last year.
One bright spot for the post office was the savings businesses, which it runs on behalf of the National Treasury Management Agency.
They saw an influx of savings as the national savings rate rose and savers looked for safe places to put their money.
The group expects new revenue when it begins selling the new National Solidarity Bond later this year but it took a €10.6m loss from the closure of Postbank after its partner, BNP Paribas, decided to pull out of its joint venture with An Post.
The post office is still struggling to meet its own target for next-day delivery. Just 84pc of domestic mail was delivered the following day, compared with a target of 94pc.
The company is spending €150m on automated letter-sorting machines, which will double the amount of post which can be sorted automatically.
The number of written complaints dipped slightly to 28,562 last year, with 17,954 people complaining about lost or substantially delayed items.