Profit from operating activities (EBIT) was €2,542 million, including non-recurring income of €59 million and €125 million, which were offset by expenses at Postbank to the tune of €71 million. EBIT was thus a marginal €48 million, or 1.9%, lower than the prior-year figure (€2,590 million), which had included the non-recurring income totalling €375 million referred to above. Adjusted for non-recurring items, EBIT improved by 9.7%.
At €764 million, net finance costs were roughly in line with the previous year (€752 million). The prior-year figure contained measurement effects and interest resulting from the exchangeable bond on Postbank shares. The higher level of interest rates had an offsetting effect and led to an increase in interest expenses during the reporting period.
Profit before income taxes declined by €60 million, or 3.3%, to €1,778 million (previous year: €1,838 million). We expect that as a consequence of the reduction in the tax rate in Germany resulting from the business tax reform the Group tax rate will probably be around 14% for the entire year, as against around 20% in the prior-year period. As a result, income tax expense in the reporting period fell by €107 million. The notional tax rate for the third quarter of 2007 is 1%.
Consolidated net profit for the period improved by €55 million to €1,529 million (previous year: €1,474 million). Of this amount, €1,134 million is attributable to Deutsche Post AG shareholders and €395 million to minorities, which increased in 2006 due to the disposal of the Postbank shares. Basic and diluted earnings per share fell from €1.06 in the first nine months of 2006 to €0.94.