Speech Klaus Zumwinkel and Edgar Ernst
At the 2005 Financials Press Conference for 2004 on March 22, 2005 in Bonn
Check against delivery.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
welcome to Deutsche Post World Net's 2005 financials press conference in Bonn.
Fiscal year 2004 once again brought considerable challenges for Deutsche Post. There were both opportunities and risks. There were wonderful successes, but also topics we will have to work upon in 2005 and beyond.
The global economic recovery gained significant momentum in 2004. Total global economic output increased by 5 percent overall. This was the strongest growth in almost thirty years! Global trade expanded even more remarkably at just over 9 percent.
The USA turned out to be the main driver of this growth, even if the balance of payments deficit grew and reached a new record.
Once again, the global region with the strongest growth was Asia. Here, Japan's renewed strong rise in GDP was particularly surprising. In China, the speed of economic growth continued unabated at 9.5 percent.
While the economy also recovered in the euro zone thanks to the positive global environment, GDP growth was only moderate, and unfortunately, even less in Germany.
We would like to report to you today how we accepted the challenges of 2004 and utilized its opportunities. When I look back on 2004, I think of the following highlights for our Group:
- We increased revenue and earnings and strengthened our balance sheet. It was our best year since 1990. Today, we are absolutely debt free.
- In MAIL, we strengthened our operations in Germany and further expanded internationally.
- The Postbank IPO was a moving time. But anyone who can post a 20 percent gain in their portfolio on Postbank shares undoubtedly considers themselves, as do we, among the winners.
- Asia continues its encouraging performance. Growth is enormous; we have strengthened our position through targeted acquisitions in India and a joint venture in New Zealand.
- DHL USA remains our greatest challenge. We are ready to become a powerful third force in the USA. That remains our goal. We have our work cut out for us there. And we're working on it systematically and intensively. The market is good and revenues are doing well. The relevant topics are: integration, costs, and quality.
- The relocation of the European hub from Brussels to Leipzig by 2008 is a done deal. We carefully considered the matter and decided purely on an economic basis, which also happened to be in Germany's favor.
- At the end of 2004, we received an award choosing us as the best DAX company with regard to social responsibility and corporate citizenship in the "good company ranking". We are very proud of that and take this responsibility seriously.
2004 financial highlights
And now, before Mr. Ernst gives you detailed information on our income statement and balance sheet, I would like to present the Group's financial highlights for 2004.
Deutsche Post World Net increased its revenue from around 40 billion euro in 2003 to approximately 43.2 billion euro. That represents a percentage increase of 7.9 percent.
In 2004, we boosted our profit from operating activities (EBITA) by 12.5 percent to approximately 3.35 billion euro. It is thus at the upper end of the guidance that we communicated to you and the capital markets. We consider that again as a clear sign of our Group's solidity and strength.
Consolidated net profit rose by more than 21 percent to approximately 1.59 billion euro.
The number of our employees worldwide rose by 6,000 on an annual average to more than 381,000.
The measures under our STAR program for integration and value creation made a contribution to earnings of 439 million euro during the fiscal year. Since the program launch in November 2002, STAR has contributed cumulative earnings of 862 million euro. We have thus clearly exceeded our 2004 year-end target, which we already raised during the year, of at least 800 million euro. What have we actually done with STAR in 2004? I would like to mention just two of the many projects:
- One STAR focus was the global reorganization of Corporate Procurement. That has now been completed. We actually exceeded our goals here.
- In September 2004, following Kuala-Lumpur and Scottsdale, Arizona, we opened the third DHL IT center in Prague and completed our global IT structure. Based on the principle of "follow the sun," we are now capable of supporting our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Our guidance for the 2005 fiscal year 2005 remains unchanged. With the help of a STAR EBITA contribution of 1.4 billion euro, we will reach a group EBITA of at least 3.6 billion euro this year.
Ladies and gentlemen, the STAR program will be completed at the end of this year. But we can already draw an extremely positive preliminary conclusion: STAR has strengthened us in all of our corporate divisions and sustainably promoted integration within the Group.
We further increased the share of our international revenue in 2004 as well. It rose from around 43 percent to almost 48 percent today.
The development of foreign revenues shows: We are now very close to reaching a goal we have long held and communicated - earning half of our revenues outside of Germany.
Deutsche Post and Postbank stock in 2004/2005
We cannot be satisfied with the development of the Deutsche Post stock in 2004. Following a very strong increase in 2003 of more than 60 percent, 2004 saw only a 3 percent rise. Among other things, this can be attributed to the situation in the stock markets, uncertainties about the price of oil and the US dollar, but of course, also to our business situation in the US, which caused us to issue a new guidance at the end of September.
Since the beginning of 2005, our stock has again posted significant upward movement.
Meanwhile, we are more than satisfied with the development of Postbank's stock. It climbed by 14 percent in 2004, and another 5.2 percent to date.
We consider this clear evidence of the convincing value of our bank and for the correctness of the strategy we pursued as part of Postbank's IPO in June of last year.
Ladies and Gentlemen,You have seen that our Group key indicators for fiscal year 2004 indicate very sound revenues, and earnings above expectations.
Against this backdrop, we will propose a dividend payment of 556 million euro, or 50 eurocents per share to the Annual General Meeting on May 18, 2005. The dividend is tax exempt for our shareholders.
Last year, we paid a dividend of 44 eurocents per share.
With this dividend, we want to boost our shareholders' and investors' trust in our Group.
Before I start reporting on our individual corporate divisions, I'd like to hand the presentation over to Mr. Ernst.
2004 annual financial statements
Ladies and Gentlemen, I would first like to say a few words about our annual financial statements.
In addition to Deutsche Post AG, the consolidated financial statements include all domestic and foreign companies of the Group, in which Deutsche Post holds a majority of the voting rights. This means we fully consolidated 120 domestic and 536 foreign companies in 2004.
Allow me to begin with the income statement:
Revenues, including income from banking transactions, increased in 2004 by 7.9 percent to approximately 43.2 billion euro. Our acquisitions contributed 2.5 billion euro, or 6.2 percent to growth in revenue.
With no changes in euro exchange rate effects of 668 million euro our operating income has increased by 9.5 percent.
We continued to increase - by around 19 percent - the proportion of our international revenue. At 20.6 billion euro, revenues generated outside of Germany now make up almost 48 percent of our total revenue.
We measure the success of our Group on the basis of our profit from operating activities before goodwill amortization (EBITA).
This increased by 12.5 percent to 3.347 billion euro. In addition to our STAR program and a very strong 4th quarter in 2004, the positive development of business in the LOGISTICS and FINANCIAL SERVICES Corporate Divisions also contributed to this increase.
We originally assumed an increase in EBITA of between 5 and 10 percent. We raised this forecast during the year to between 7.5 and 12.5 percent.
Our consolidated net profit rose from 1.31 billion euro to approximately 1.59 billion euro. Earnings per share increased correspondingly from 1.18 euro to 1.43 euro.
4th quarter 2004
Allow me to take a quick look at the 4th quarter of 2004, which went extremely well from our viewpoint.
In the 4th quarter of 2004, we increased revenues by 3.1 percent compared to the prior-year period, and actually boosted our operating profit (EBITA) by 16.5 percent.
The detailed revenue and earnings figures for the 4th quarter are available to you in your press folders.
The MAIL Corporate Division contributed around 12.7 billion euro to the corporate divisions' total revenue of around 43 billion euro, the EXPRESS division about 17.8 billion euro, the LOGISTICS division about 6.8 billion euro, and the FINANCIAL SERVICES Corporate Division about 7.3 billion euro.
In a difficult economic environment, the MAIL Corporate Division generated revenue slightly above that of the previous year. This is attributable in particular to our clear strategic focus on the international mail business and to the positive development in our Direct Marketing Business Division.
We increased revenue in the EXPRESS division by 16.3 percent. All regions - Europe, the Americas, Asia/Pacific, and Emerging Markets - posted operative gains.
The LOGISTICS Corporate Division increased revenue to around 6.8 billion euro. Both, DHL Danzas Air and Ocean and DHL Solutions made strong contributions with increases of 17.5 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.
FINANCIAL SERVICES posted a decline in income of 4.1 percent, which is attributable in particular to the lower interest income as a result of the continued fall in the interest rate level.
The MAIL Corporate Division's profit from operating activities (EBITA), at around 2.1 billion euro, was at the previous year's level. This positive result is based in particular on the great successes we achieved in our Direct Marketing Business Division.
The EXPRESS division slightly exceeded the previous year's earnings by 0.5 percent, up to 367 million euro. Express "Americas" showed earnings of minus 495 million euro. Excluding the "Americas" region, earnings grew from 603 million euro up to 862 million euro. This is an increase of 43 percent.
Earnings in the LOGISTICS division improved significantly, specifically by about 36 percent to 281 million euro. This is due to the excellent revenue growth in both business divisions DHL Danzas Air&Ocean and DHL Solutions. Once again, we well exceeded our growth forecast, which we increased during the year from 10 to 25 percent. With a 2004 return on sales of 4.1 percent, the LOGISTICS division is one of the leaders among our competitors.
The FINANCIAL SERVICES division increased its earnings by about 22 percent to 692 million euro. Postbank's good operating performance in particular contributed to this positive development. The return on equity (ROE) as an indicator of the profitability of equity employed improved from 10.7 percent to 13.7 percent. The cost/income ratio also improved, declining significantly from 76.1 percent to 70.8 percent. This proves we were successful in clearly increasing our income. At the same time, our costs increased less than proportionally.
Consolidated balance sheet
I would now like to present a few selected key performance indicators from our balance sheet.
Equity increased by 18.2 percent to around 7.2 billion euro, in particular attributable to consolidated net profit of 1.59 billion euro. The equity ratio rose correspondingly to 24.4 percent.
Investments increased by 25 percent to 1.64 billion euro (or 1.72 billion euro for the entire Group).
Operating cash flow rose by 3.5 percent to approximately 2.6 billion euro.
Net debt converted into a net liquidity position. This is primarily attributable to the proceeds from the Postbank IPO. The proceeds from Postbank's IPO and other disposals of investments exceeded our expenses for acquisitions and investments.
Deutsche Post World Net is thus now debt free.
Allow me to discuss two special topics, which effect our future consolidated net profit very positively and thus also earnings per share.
The tax audit, which essentially concerned the carrying amounts in the opening tax accounts for 1995, has been concluded.
As a result of this process, we have higher write-downs in our tax accounts. This reduces our taxable earnings and our tax rate in the consolidated balance sheet prepared in accordance with IFRS. We therefore expect a consolidated tax rate of 20 percent for the coming years.
From the current perspective, the effective tax burden, that is, the Group's actual tax payments, remains largely unchanged.
This will have a positive effect on our consolidated net profit. Due to IFRS from 2005 the regular amortization of goodwill has been eliminated which in our case was 370 million euro in 2004.
The discontinuance of goodwill amortization as well as the new tax rate result in an overall increase in net profit of approx. 500 million euro. This means that earnings per share increase by approx. 45 Cents, which corresponds to an increase of an additional 30 percent on the basis of 2004 figures.
I would now like to discuss briefly the development of our current shareholder structure: Share sales by the KfW banking group have now increased the free float to 44 percent.
The KfW group has also placed exchangeable bonds, most recently a so-called Uridashi bond with private investors in Japan. The bonds can be converted into 10.1 percent of our stock.
That means, if these bonds are exchanged for Deutsche Post stock, our free float can climb to more than 50 percent, by itself in a manner of speaking, without additional placements being necessary.
One could say we are already a private company today, but in the public's eye, the majority holding by the government still often makes us a "state-owned enterprise". In this sense, a reduction in the government's holding to below 50 percent would be an important step in terms of market psychology. This continues to play a role in many discussions with partners and customers in other countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if I may, I would like to summarize Deutsche Post World Net's most important business data for 2004 once again:
- We increased Group revenue by 7.9 percent to approximately 43 billion euro. Adjusted for exchange rate effects, revenue would have been even higher by 9.5 percent.
- The proportion of international revenue climbed to almost 48 percent.
- At around 3.35 billion euro, earnings were at the upper end of our forecast and the capital markets' expectations of us.
- Earnings for the 4th quarter rose by 16.5 percent over the prior-year period.
- Consolidated net profit increased to 1.59 billion euro.
- The STAR program contributed 439 million euro to 2004 earnings and thus exceeded expectations by far.
- Deutsche Post World Net is now debt free.
- Provided that it is approved by the AGM, the dividend will rise by 13.6 percent to 50 eurocents per share.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe the good results for 2004 are proof of the fundamental strength and solidity of our Group.
And with that, I return the floor to Mr. Zumwinkel.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I would now like to report the results and developments our individual corporate divisions in 2004 and present you with the outlook for 2005.
The Mail Corporate Division concluded 2004 with revenue and EBITA values close to the prior year's level. We are very satisfied with this. We are already generating 48.8 percent of our MAIL revenue outside of the exclusive license. Our MAIL division's return on sales of 16.4 percent (16.7 percent in-the previous year) remains at the targeted high level.
Our largest contributor to revenue remains the Mail Communication Business Division. The weak domestic economy in the fiscal year forced a decline in sales on us in the business customer segment. In the Press Distribution Business Division, we were able to maintain our revenue in a slightly declining market.
We successfully drove forward our MAIL internationalization strategy in 2004. Our acquisitions in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, and in particular in the USA helped increase total revenue by around 2.0 percent.
Our successful Direct Marketing business also contributed to this growth. This business division is continuing its successful development, increasing revenue by 4.3 percent. With good reason, I would therefore like to discuss the topic of direct marketing in more detail.
Ladies and gentlemen, our Group now generates about 85 percent of its MAIL revenues with business customers. Thus our segment Direct Marketing or Dialogue Marketing is very important.
We are developing new innovative offerings and services in this field. We are certain we can make a decisive contribution to the success of our business customers in their respective markets and with their target groups. This is done by customized approaches to target groups of existing and potential customers, in other words, a qualitative expansion of these business customers' advertising and marketing activities.
High response figures, profitability, calculability, and safety increase the success of marketing activities. We are supporting this product and service offensive using a large ad campaign targeted specifically to the B2B and B2C segments.
The campaign's motto is "reaching people". To a certain extent, this describes our core competence. Like no other company, we reach people everywhere, and they can reach us.
Anyone who has set their sights on goals - and our business customers have certainly done that - must reach people to reach them. That is what Deutsche Post can truly do.
The revenue increases in the Mail International Business Division were mainly attributable to the acquisitions in the UK, the Netherlands, and the USA. Together with the Value Added Services Business Division, we recorded a revenue increase of 12.3 percent. We placed the international mail business under the DHL Global Mail brand in 2004. We view this measure as another correct step toward our goal for a "one face to the customer" approach - and that worldwide.
Allow me to make a few clarifying statements about investments in foreign postal companies.
- Such an investment must, in principle, meet three prerequisites: The foreign postal company must fit us strategically, for example, it must pursue the same premium quality strategy; then the regulatory and statutory environment must be reliable, with respect to price regulation for example; and finally, as business people, we must look for a reasonable purchase price and a proper return. Allow me to go through the countries mentioned repeatedly in the media.
- Japan. We have good relationships with the Japanese Post and I just recently visited the Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. But the Japanese Post is not yet privatized; there are no prospects for selling shares to foreigners and we do not currently have any interest.
- Austria. We work well together with the Austrian Post. But due to the various political developments in Austria, we definitely have no interest in an investment. At 300 million euro in revenue and approx. 1,500 employees, we already have an attractive market position in Austria which we will strengthen further.
- Belgium. A process for the sale of an interest in the Belgian Post is currently underway. We have reviewed everything carefully and have concluded that some of the fundamental requirements are missing. That is why we have not made an offer at this time. In Belgium too, we have a strong position with 750 million euro in revenue and 2.700 employees.
- Denmark. We have a close and good working relationship with the Danish Post, especially in the EXPRESS business. A 22 percent interest in the company is being sold. Strategically, we would fit well to the Danish Post. But we are not prepared to pay prices that do not offer us sufficient yields. That is why we won't increase our offer.
- Italy. Here, this is only general speculation about privatization. At present we are definitely not conducting any discussions in this connection.
So you can see: some clear decisions on our part, otherwise a lot of speculation. Postal companies around the world are gradually being privatized. We have three alternatives: entering into joint ventures with or purchasing existing postal companies, acquiring private mail service providers or setting up our own network.
We have a clear strategy on the internationalization of our Mail business, that we've accomplished over the last three years in leaps and bounds.
We have built the largest network for international mail dispatch (with direct connections to more than 200 countries worldwide and production centers on 4 continents).
The most important component was our entry in May of last year into the world's largest mail market, the USA. Our acquisitions there have made us No. 1 among private mail providers in one fell swoop (in cooperation with the USPS).
The EXPRESS Corporate Division boosted its revenue in 2004, and maintained its earnings at the prior-year level.
Business operations developed very well in all regions: plus 16.3 percent, excluding exchange rate effects plus 19.7 percent.
Revenue increased by 4.3 percent in the Europe region. The Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia, the Benelux region and the UK and Ireland in particular contributed to this increase. We grew in Germany due to significant increases in volumes in the import and export business. Overall, our European integration is making good progress.
In the "Americas" region we returned revenues of 4.3 billion euro. I will discuss the situation in the USA in more detail shortly.
Our revenue in the Asia/Pacific region jumped by a pleasing 25.1 percent.
In the Emerging Markets (EMA), we posted a 20 percent increase in revenue. We profited here from the increased transport volume in the Gulf region and a positive development in the Eastern European countries, particularly in Russia.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in Germany, we will press ahead with our DHL and Leipzig project and prepare for the establishment of our international air network there. This project will create around 10,000 jobs there (directly and indirectly) starting in 2008. The work on this project is progressing well. We will keep you continually informed on our progress.
One focus of our EXPRESS strategy lies in the Asia/Pacific region, and China and India in particular. Both offer enormous growth potentials. We undertook important steps in 2004 to reinforce our position in both countries, in China with the targeted expansion of the Chinese domestic business, and in India with the acquisition of Blue Dart, No. 1 in the national Express business.
Both countries have seen annual growth rates of between 7 and 10 percent in recent years. With a total population of almost 2.5 billion people, these countries will play an enormously important role in the future, not just in Asia, but on the world markets as well.
It is of fundamental importance for our Group to be clearly positioned in both countries. Which we already are, but we will also further selectively strengthen our position there in the future so that we remain the first choice for our customers.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to say a few words now about our situation in the USA, which is certainly a major challenge for our Group in 2005 and 2006.
Our strategy of being present and active in the USA remains indispensable.
Allow me to name three significant reasons. First, the USA is the largest express and logistics market in the world. Second, that is why a major portion of our express volume in Europe and Asia flows to USA and a major portion of the express volume in the USA is flown and delivered in our worldwide networks outside of the USA. A network lives from its total coverage and volumes. And third, a global player with a global network must also be represented there - namely in the USA, where the world's largest companies have their headquarters and make decisions on global business and logistics.
We launched this strategy some years ago. First, the purchase of DHL-USA with its international products, then the purchase of Airborne with an emphasis on the domestic air express product, and finally the establishment of our own domestic ground-based parcel network for the entire USA.
We know about the operational tasks that are currently hot topics for us in the USA. They concern continuing and improving integration, reducing costs, and sustainably increasing our quality of service. We aim to improve our business with a clear focus on customers. Because we clearly want to keep the performance promises and performance level that distinguishes us worldwide in the USA as well. We have made the first, very good steps in that direction. I believe there is no doubt that the market is there for us.
However it is now incumbent on us to be the truly attractive third power for the customers in the USA, to be the power - and this has been confirmed to us time and again from many sides - the power they definitely want.
We have communicated a clear road map for developing our earnings in the "Americas", which posted an EBITA of minus 495 million euro in 2004, and we will stick to this map. We still expect a deficit of up to 300 million euro for 2005, by the end of 2006, we will reach break-even in the USA.
We will invest 1.2 billion dollars in die USA in the coming years, of which 300 million dollars alone will be for expanding our central hub at our own airport in Wilmington, Ohio.
At the end of 2004, we made a far-reaching management decision, and I am pleased to be able to present John Mullen to you today. Some of you know him from his time as the head of our Asia business. It is his task to get things moving in the USA.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is no doubt about our USA strategy. The market is good, and our revenue and our market successes are good - now we are proceeding vigorously with our homework in terms of integration, costs, and quality.
The LOGISTICS Corporate Division significantly increased its revenue as well as its earnings. Based on the extremely positive development in the year under review we raised our earnings forecast during the year: Instead of a year-on-year increase of at least 10 percent, we forecast growth of at least 25 percent. And we even far exceeded this expectation! As a result, the return on sales improved by 0.6 percent to 4.1 percent. That is a top margin. In 2004 our LOGISTICS division earned more absolutely than our largest competitors.
Transport volumes increased in both air and ocean freight. Air freight posted double-digit growth rates in tonnage compared to the previous year. Ocean freight volumes again grew at double-digit rates similar to those in 2003. Revenue at Solutions increased by 9.9 percent. The growth momentum came in particular from the electronics/telecommunications and the fast moving consumer goods sectors. New business in the USA, France, Germany, and The Netherlands increased volumes.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you are aware that in the spring of this year we will take over major parts of KarstadtQuelle's group logistics. The contracts were signed last Friday.
With an annual revenue of around 500 million euro and a period of ten years, this step means new business of 5 billion euro for us.
Taking over the largest European logistics order will once again demonstrate our capability in the field of supply chain management.
DHL Solutions takes over the distribution logistics for Karstadt Warenhaus AG, including its employees. DHL Solutions will also handle bulky goods and part-load operations for Quelle and Neckermann.
I believe that no other company is currently capable of taking over such a complex structure and ensuring the smooth provisioning of the warehouses as well as the delivery to mail order customers.
The Financial Services Corporate Division posted income totaling 7.3 billion euro in 2004. The equivalent to sales revenue of an industrial company in the banking business is income which comprises the gross income from interest, fees and commissions, and trading transactions. The primary reason for the decline was the lower interest rate level.
Compared to the previous year, earnings increased in fiscal year 2004 by 21.8 percent. Postbank's good operating performance substantially contributed to this positive development.
Net fee and commission income developed particularly well, rising by 31.0 percent over the previous year to 612 million euro. This is attributable to the fact that we were able to achieve further growth in sales of products with a high consulting and advisory content and to provide services for other banks in the new Transaction Banking Business Division.
At the beginning of May, we took over the handling of all payment transactions for Dresdner Bank. On July 1, Deutsche Bank transferred the processing of its entire domestic, and some foreign, payment transactions to us.
Thus, the full income from these activities was first achieved in the second half of 2004.
On January 1, 2005, we transferred our retail outlets to Deutsche Post Retail GmbH, a new, independent organizational structure with approx. 20,000 employees. Our goal for the new subsidiary is to better meet the needs of our customers, as well as to further strengthen our retail sales channel with its diverse activities for the three brands, Deutsche Post, DHL, and Postbank.
Ladies and gentlemen, Postbank's IPO was the highlight of our Group in 2004. It was a lively time, which together we made a success. Anyone who is a Postbank stockholder today is satisfied with the results. I believe the market has confirmed our conduct and our strategy, but in particular our view of the value of this bank. The business model is focused and consistent, the quality of the management generally recognized.
EUROMONEY, the renowned bank and capital market magazine recently recognized the Postbank IPO as the "best equity capital transaction in 2004 under especially difficult conditions" in Western Europe. We are pleased with this award, which we consider as further confirmation for our procedure. We are proud of our Postbank and its esteem in Germany and beyond. We will keep Postbank in our Group network and further expand this strong pillar.
10 years of Deutsche Post AG
Ladies and gentlemen, 10 years of Deutsche Post as a stock corporation is more than sufficient occasion to look with pride at what has been achieved and with confidence at what lies before us. We are grateful to the employees for their commitment and to the customers for their trust.
Our company's dynamic development in the past ten years serves as a worldwide model for successful privatization and internationalization in all aspects. Just five years after founding the stock company, we were on the exchange. The complete modernization of our mail and freight logistics in the 90's and the consistent realignment of our products and services prepared us for the increasing competition at the right time. Our international alignment meets the growing customer requirements for logistics services that span the globe.
I believe the "new Deutsche Post" has brought our customers numerous advantages. Letters and parcels are delivered faster; services in the retail outlets have been improved. Business customers now receive customized solutions worldwide, extending far beyond the classic transportation of mail and parcel shipments. Our privatization itself now serves as a successful example in foreign countries, as shown by the strong interest in other countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to take the opportunity today to take a clear position once again on the topics of consolidation, downstream access, competition, and the abolition of the exclusive license prior to the end of 2007.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am for competition. That's why I joined Deutsche Post. But for competition without blinders and with equal rights and obligations. I believe that eroding the exclusive license prematurely would mean distortions in competition when viewed in a European and international context. The market must be liberalized - incrementally, orderly, and under dependable general conditions for the companies concerned.
The EU has provided this road map. We will stick to this plan, but we expect that our negotiating partners - both the German and European policy makers - will also stick to it.You all know that our exclusive license in Germany entails widespread obligations for us. We stand by these with no ifs, or buts.
Today, we offer around 220,000 high-quality jobs in Germany, fully subject to social insurance contribution regulations, and have an employment pact with our social partners that excludes compulsory redundancies until March 2008, and a training pact guaranteeing 7,000 training positions until 2007. In Leipzig, our investments will create 10,000 new jobs, directly and indirectly.
Our competition on the other hand, makes only a few investments and creates few jobs. Their business models e.g. consolidation aim to make a quick euro, but do not generate any real competition. The momentum they gladly allege again and again for the labor market has not yet been seen. I would like to give you a few figures to illustrate this.
The pay for full time employees at smaller competitors is significantly below the pay level at Deutsche Post AG. Instead of full time jobs, our competitors are selecting other types of employment: The recently initiated German "Ich-AG" as a one-man shop or 400 euro mini-jobs.
In its 2004 annual report, the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post reported that 0.7 percent of the employees at Deutsche Post AG were in lower-paid employment, 99.3 percent are full or part-time employees. At our competitors just 19 percent are full time employees (figures for 2003).
Consolidation regulations in the MAIL area in Germany could equate to a reduction of 6,000 jobs at Deutsche Post.
Maintaining the EU schedule for deregulation and competition in the postal markets is a requirement for securing thousands of jobs in Germany. In times like these, this must be clear to those bearing political responsibility.
Recently, I spent two days with my top management team. We discussed 2005 and the years following. And we intensified a project that I hold dear: That is the conveying of our corporate values to each individual and making them a daily reality. For our company, integration doesn't just mean tapping cost and revenue synergies in a global network or promoting cooperation and developing a global work community. We also want to be a community of values.
To avoid misunderstandings: We are talking about a common understanding of values understood by all members of our multinational and multicultural company. This does not mean an abstract ethical goal, but rather the very concrete behavior of each individual. In various projects and using cascading internal communication, we are attempting to build bridges between the values recognized as correct and the actual daily work of our 380,000 employees throughout the world.
We are firmly convinced that such an orientation framework also makes a considerable contribution to our economic success - that it is a resource for the company's success not to be underestimated. And that actualizing values will ultimately contribute to increasing our enterprise value.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to conclude.
What we have attained in the past 10 years is, in the end, the result of a strategy that we have pursued consistently: internationalization and utilization of the opportunities from globalization.
Deutsche Post World Net has developed into a global player in recent years. With DHL, today we are strongly represented in all of the world's important markets. We are present worldwide.
We are No. 1 in Europe and Asia, we will be a third force in the USA. We are No. 1 in global air freight, No. 2 in ocean freight. We have 380,000 employees covering 220 countries, and in terms of coverage range and a global platform, our services are thus already today uncontested in our industry.
True, further challenges await us. We will grow closer together as a Group this year, we will successfully conclude our STAR value creation program, and we will get a customer-oriented, profitable business in the USA under way. In addition, we want to expand our national and international mail business and actively exploit opportunities for growth worldwide. I would like to reconfirm our expected earnings for 2005 of at least 3.6 billion euro.
I would like to close with this statement: Our company is well positioned in terms of strategy, business, and finance and will grow further from the global platform it has now created - in the various regions and the various business divisions.
Thank you for your attention and your willingness to continue to accompany constructively and critically on our path.