Photo Credit: Radiocool.lt

 

August 12, 2017

 

According to a recent press release, Omniva’s (Estonian Post to the uninitiated) growth in the first half-year was mostly thanks to the development of e-commerce

Omniva state that in the first half-year of 2017, their commercial revenue grew by 25% compared to the same period last year and there was growth in all of Omniva’s business areas. The growth was mostly thanks to the rapid development of e-commerce, which increased the revenue of Omniva’s international business, as well as that of parcel services provided in its home market, the Baltic countries.

In the first half-year of 2017, the group’s total commercial revenue was 51.8 million euros, which was 25% more than in the same period last year. Omniva has shown growth of this magnitude for several quarters in a row, now.

International business: still the most rapid growth

International business continued to be the area with the most rapid growth in the Omniva group in the first half-year of 2017 – 76% compared to the same period last year. The main focus of international business is the logistics of parcels from Chinese e-commerce.

Parcels Business: growth in the entire Baltic region

The group’s revenue from the parcels business grew by 14% in the home market, the Baltic region compared to the same period last year. The Parcels Business had an especially significant increase in Latvia – 65%. In Lithuania, the revenue from the parcels business grew by 25%.

“The expansion of Omniva to Latvia and Lithuania and addressing the entire Baltic region as its home market has been the right decision,” says Joona Saluveer, Omniva's CEO. “More and more customers want to receive a complete solution for parcel services in the Baltic countries and Omniva is able to successfully provide it.”

The biggest network of parcel machines in the Baltic region also helped increase the revenue of the Parcels Business Unit. As the demand for parcel machines is growing, Omniva plans to expand its network of parcel machines in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania this year as well.

Postal services: decline in traditional services, increase in revenue from new solutions

The revenue from traditional national postal services continues to decrease. Total revenue from postal services in the first half-year of 2017 increased by 1% compared to the same period last year, and this was thanks to finding new segments and solutions beyond the traditional postal services.

Omniva focuses on providing the universal postal service throughout Estonia and the company is constantly looking for new opportunities in the conditions of changing demand for doing this in a modern way that is as convenient for the customers as possible.

“People’s consumption patterns, as well as the way they use the services have changed, which means that post offices are increasingly becoming places for receiving and sending parcels, as well as for advising customers on the use of different services,” said Saluveer.

"Ok Marek, so why talk about a (relatively) small postal operator in one of the smallest countries in Europe?", you may ask. Well the answer is simple; like most Estonians I have come across, these guys are progressive, smart and seem to be doing more things right than their bigger competitors.

"But what in particular?", would be your next question. From my perspective they have taken the right strategy both domestically and internationally, and here are some of the reasons why:

Domestic:

  • When I was managing the Baltics at GeoPost/DPD, the only Postal Player to be stronger than us in any of the Baltic countries was Omniva. This is because they were able to embrace innovation and understand (like Amazon do) that customer experience is the holy grail for any last mile operator. Try as we would, we got close, but never beat them in their home market.
  • So what sort of things are important here? For me, development of IT, people and "asset sweating" (the last point is pretty important when you have a post office infrastructure!). Today's e-commerce customers want choice and control, and that's why things like interactive delivery management, attended and unattended delivery (via access points and more recently, parcel lockers) are so important. From what I can see, Omniva have been the "best in class" Postal Operator in the Baltics in this respect. Right now, only DPD is able to give them a "run for their money".

International:

  • With a population of a little over 1 million, the Estonians are right to look internationally in order to generate growth. The Baltic states, together, are some 6 times larger...and Europe is in another league altogether
  • The Baltic States are closely linked culturally and economically; many customers require a seamless, Pan-Baltic solution
  • Estonia is "hi tech" and agile and that is how a small post on the far Eastern border of the EU has been able to become a gateway for SF Express (Chinese parcels) to the EU rather than better placed (geographically and with a rail link to China) and larger Polish Post, for example
  • To become a gateway and fulfilment partner for the Chinese a few things are important: flexibility, quality, ability to deliver complete solutions and to do all this at attractive prices

So how tenable is this international growth? The answer is, "I don't know". SF volumes are reportedly being generated at very low prices and so we would need to see the effect on profitability.

Of course, the better Omniva get at this game, the more likely they are to create scale economies and value added services that can be charged for. I personally, am optimistic, although it would be interesting to see EBIT data as well as revenue...Any views?