The economic downturn has impacted the entire logistics industry appreciably and, in turn, our business. Trading volumes continued to weaken in most of our business units, especially in the fourth quarter. We have seen that this trend has continued and even intensified in the first weeks of the new financial year.
Yet we are taking action. In keeping with our Roadmap to Value, we intend to cut costs further – an additional €1 billion by the end of 2010. We are setting strict standards for investments and acquisitions and further tightening our working capital. The restructuring in the US is progressing according to plan. We intend to minimise losses there to US $ 400 million (annualised) by the last quarter of 2009.
Management is setting a clear example: The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will not receive any performance-based bonuses for the past financial year.
I am thoroughly convinced that we will come out of the recession in a stronger position. Since we are the market leader with a global network and a comprehensive portfolio, we are able to respond more flexibly than competitors to our customers’ changing requirements.
Now that we have boldly and systematically set a clear course, it is time to take up our strategy for the future. We want to maintain our position as “Die Post für Deutschland” (the postal service for Germany) whilst making optimum use of the global strength of our logistics business.
Together with our around 500,000 employees, we are creating a corporate culture marked by a focus on results and mutual respect. We intend not only to meet the expectations of our customers and shareholders in the future but to exceed them.
I would like to sincerely thank our employees for their hard work in an extremely challenging year and I thank you for your trust in our company. We would like to show our appreciation by proposing a dividend of €0.60 per share this year.