"Posten Norden is well-equipped for the future"
14 Apr 2010
Posten Norden is well-equipped to meet the challenges of falling mail volumes and deregulation of large portions of the EU postal markets. In 2009, Posten Norden's customers were more satisfied than ever, new quality records were set in both Sweden and Denmark, and employees were healthier and more dedicated. But success requires the presence of the right conditions. President and Group CEO Lars G Nordström, in his speech today at the group's first Annual General Meeting, said that he would like to see regulation and supervision that take into account the rapid change and new conditions faced by the company.
In his speech at Posten Norden's Annual General Meeting in Solna today, president and group CEO Lars G Nordström stated that the world - including European postal and logistics businesses - has changed following the announcement two years ago of the merger of Post Danmark and Posten. But he also stated that the arguments supporting the merger are even more relevant today than they were at that time. Lars G Nordström:
- A successful communication and logistics company in tomorrow's Europe will be a customer- and result-oriented company with skilled, dedicated employees. A company where the owners and employees realise the importance of speed and flexibility in addressing necessary changes. A company that, given the right conditions, is able to build a rationally based structure that creates competitive advantages - to the satisfaction of customers, owners and employees. Posten Norden has all the makings of becoming such a company.
Mr Nordström underscored Posten Norden's strong position in logistics and distance trade and further described the challenges facing the group, which include sharply declining mail volumes. He predicted that volumes will continue to fall and that they will not regain previous levels as the economy turns around. He also emphasised the difficulty of predicting future "normal" volume levels. Meeting these challenges, said Mr Nordström, requires a structural adjustment that goes much further than what was envisaged just two years ago, as well as extensive development and customisation. Posten Norden must therefore be afforded the right to adapt and develop its operations in a way that allows the group to deliver what customers demand while meeting the owners' yield requirements. The right conditions are a prerequisite for this. Lars G Nordström:
- We expect to face increased competition in Denmark due to the forthcoming liberalisation, albeit on a level playing field. We anticipate reduced regulatory pressure in Sweden based on the outcome of the postal legislation committee's proposals - that is the basic idea of the EU's Postal Directive. And we expect that the proposed ideas to produce price transparency through the disclosure of individual business agreements will be rejected. Others in the business world would regard these ideas as unreasonable. Naturally, our task is not to make it easier for foreign government postal monopolies to gain information about our business agreements. Our task is to be a competitive, reliable and professional partner to our customers. That is our way to fulfil our responsibility.
In his speech Mr Nordström explained that Posten Norden, like other companies, has a responsibility; that is, an obligation to fulfil its mandate pursuant to applicable regulations in a responsible manner and to weigh the interests of customers, shareholders and owners equally. He said that he still encounters the mistaken notion that Posten Norden's operations are tax funded, and suggested that the group must be more explicit in talking about the challenges it faces and necessary changes. Lars G Nordström:
- Our task is to ensure that we have appropriate production facilities for the mail items that we deliver. Our task is to ensure that our employees solve our customers' needs with skill and dedication, and that they have the necessary infrastructure at their disposal.
Resolutions passed at Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting resolved that the board shall be comprised of eight AGM-elected board members with no deputy board members. The AGM re-elected all board members: Fritz H Schur, Mats Abrahamsson, Ingrid Bonde, Gunnel Duveblad, Bjarne Hansen, Torben Janholt, Anne Birgitte Lundholt and Richard Reinius. Fritz H Schur was re-elected as Chairman of the Board.
In accordance with the proposal concerning board member remuneration for the period through the next general meeting, the AGM resolved that SEK 600,000 shall be paid to the Chairman of the Board and SEK 250,000 shall be paid to the other AGM-elected board members. The AGM also approved the proposal that the chairman of the Audit Committee shall receive remuneration of SEK 62,500, that other Audit Committee members shall receive SEK 50,000, that the chairman of the Compensation Committee shall receive SEK 37,500 and that other Compensation Committee members shall receive SEK 25,000. The AGM also resolved that board and committee member remuneration would not be paid to members employed by the Government Offices.
Ernst & Young, with authorised public accountant Lars Träff, was the selected auditing company. It was announced at the meeting that an auditor procurement process will be initiated in 2010. The AGM resolved that fees for the company's auditors shall be paid upon invoice.
In accordance with the board's proposal, the AGM resolved to distribute a dividend of SEK 1,440m to the owners.
The AGM approved the proposed guidelines for executive compensation, as determined by the board in March. The proposal stipulates that no variable wage shares or bonuses shall be paid to executives.
The full minutes of the meeting will be available at postennorden.se as soon as they have been adopted.
If you have any questions or require further information, please contact:
Posten Norden Media Relations, tel +46 8-23 10 10
Posten Norden was formed through the merger of Post Danmark A/S and Posten AB. The group offers communication and logistics solutions to, from and within the Nordic region, with sales of around SEK 45 billion and approximately 50,000 employees. Operations are run in business areas Mail Denmark, Mail Sweden, Logistics and Informationlogistics. The parent company is a Swedish public company headquartered in Solna, Sweden. Read more about Posten Norden at www.postennorden.se.