Financial indicators signal achievement of EGP 701m surplus at Egypt Post over the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year (FY) 2016/2017.
Egypt Post CEO Essam Al-Saghir told Daily News Egypt that the body intends to establish an e-commerce platform during Cairo ICT 2016.
What led Egypt Post to realise a surplus of EGP 1.1bn in FY 2015/2016?
There has been great development in the performance of Egypt Post in the past period, which contributed to achieving this surplus.
We relied on several fronts to achieve this surplus, including converting our offices into centres for all government services. We became more than just a post office that provides postal services or pensions to an institution that provides many services, such as payment of bills, paying taxes, and paying driver licence renewal fees for some governorates as a first phase, as well as payment of tuition fees for some universities.
With regard to non-postal services, they collectively impacted the revenues. Moreover, improving the services we offer our employees increased our market share, especially in the sector of courier and shipping.
Egypt Post also won several shipping and communication tenders put forward recently by some banks, supported by the modernisation and automation of our transportation and distribution centres, which made it easier to audit packages and communications which are sent and received on a daily basis, and to discover the reasons for delays.
Furthermore, we are currently changing our international distribution hub at Cairo International airport and replacing it with an international depot that will become one of the best at the airport, in terms of security and dealing with parcels and letters.
Publishing, workshops, and stores sectors have seen great development, which contributed to transforming it from making losses into achieving profits. The publishing sector achieved profits of EGP 15m by the end of FY 2015/2016 compared to EGP 8m of losses in FY 2014/2015, supported by the development process and offering integrated solutions to banks by offering them packaging and delivery services.
In addition, this surplus was made possible through rationalisation of spending, including restructuring all the authority’s fees and mechanisation of services. Instead of the long path a letter used to take through six employees, it is now done in one click.
We have structured our services without touching the prices. For instance, parcel services used to see little demand. We unified the price nationwide to EGP 8 to attract clients and increase demand. We also amended some of our international shipping agreements with a number of companies, which reflected on reducing operation costs.
Furthermore, we changed some of the agreements with shipping companies, through which we restored a large part of our dues that have been accumulating.
We also carried out an administrative restructuring within Egypt Post for the first time. We now have a Quality Control Department and a Customer Service Sector. In addition, tracking devices that were installed in trucks reduced unauthorised trips.
There was a plan to re-invest real estate assets. Where does that stand?
Investing our real estate assets was also part of our plan to maximise revenues. This does not only include buildings, but also networks and invested funds. We reviewed some of our real estate assets and re-invested in them through replacing the old buildings with new tall administrative buildings. The first floor of these buildings always has an Egypt Post office, while the remaining spaces are rented or sold. This was done in the provinces of Qaliubiya, Beni Suef, Luxor, and Aswan.
Some offices were accumulating losses. How did you deal with that?
Indeed, there were a large number of offices that accumulated a great deal of losses. We linked input to production. We promised a 10% bonus on revenue increases every three months to all employees at low performing offices. This prompted them to think of work as their own personal projects and pay more attention to clients.
How are the financial indicators of Egypt Post in the current fiscal year?
We achieved a surplus of nearly EGP 701m over Q1 of the current FY, which is 70% of what we usually achieve throughout an entire fiscal year. We expect higher revenue than last year, following the strong changes that prevailed in financial markets.
What are your plans to enter e-commerce?
We will inaugurate the first e-commerce platform during Cairo ICT 2016. Through the platform, we will be providing the service ourselves.
Are there plans to launch a US dollar-denominated savings book?
The Egypt Post Law limits its dealings to Egyptian pounds only. If we want to deal in hard currency, we first have to change the law. We have already entered into discussions with the parliament regarding the points that need to be changed. One proposal was making the authority the hub for sending remittances from abroad to provinces, especially after the decision to float the pound and unify the exchange rate.
Did the new high-interest saving certificates at banks impact your deposits?
The new saving vessels launched by some banks recently are different from the savings book we provide. Most of our clients cannot dispense their savings for more than three years; some of them only have a few thousand in savings. The effect is less than 3%.
What are the main features of development that Egypt Post is working on?
We continue our plans for the development and automation of post offices. We are also planning to disperse 350 ATMs across the republic for cash withdrawal and deposits.
Moreover, we recently began providing an SMS alert service to send clients notifications of transactions done through their accounts. This is now limited to transactions of over EGP 5,000, but will soon be circulated to all transactions.