Saturday 17 August 2019

An Post pursues €40m loan to fund automation

Greener: An Post ceo David McRedmond, Climate Minister Richard Bruton and Postwoman Gemma Lalor. Photo: Maxwells
Greener: An Post ceo David McRedmond, Climate Minister Richard Bruton and Postwoman Gemma Lalor. Photo: Maxwells

John Mulligan

An Post is seeking a €40m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to fund a modernisation programme to automate its parcel business and replace a third of its diesel fleet with electric vehicles.

The loan - part of an €83m package - will also back the development of new financial products for the retail market.

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State-owned An Post revealed plans earlier this year to introduce 750 electric vehicles to its nationwide fleet.

An Post said it is transforming itself into an e-commerce facilitator as the volume of parcels it delivers soars, boosted by online shoppers.

Last month, An Post said its revenue rose 7pc as a decline in letter volumes was offset by a 40pc rise in parcel volumes. Its operating profits soared from €8m to €40m.

The company is headed by former TV3 boss David McRedmond.

Last year, it announced plans to close almost 160 post offices. In a major gaffe in February, the company rebranded a post office in Gurteen, Co Sligo, with its new logo just a week before the outlet was due to close.

Mr McRedmond said last month that An Post has been transformed by fixing its core economics and reinvigorating its brand.

The company also revealed two new brands: An Post Money and An Post Commerce. The former will provide financial services including loans, current accounts and credit cards. The latter will provide e-commerce solutions to businesses.

"The company is undertaking a major modernisation programme that supports its strategic plan for medium and long-term future," noted the EIB, which is assessing the application.

"The key constituent parts of the investments are the automation and modernisation of the parcels business, the replacing of one-third of its diesel fleet with electric vehicles, the digitalisation of the entire front-end of the business, as well as the development of new financial products for the retail market and the renewal of post offices."

Last year, An Post said it was weighing plans to move its headquarters from the General Post Office on Dublin's O'Connell Street.

Irish Independent

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