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Deutsche Post DHL posts sizzling Q3 results, raises 2021, 2023 outlooks

Quarterly revenue up 23.5%, operating profit rises 28.6%

Flying high in Q3 (Image: DHL)

German transport and logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL posted very strong third-quarter results on Thursday, with revenue up 23.5% to $23.1 billion, operating profit up 28.6% to nearly $2.1 billion and operating margins increasing to 8.8% from 8.5%.

The company also raised its 2021 guidance for earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to a record $8.9 billion, above the initial full-year estimate of nearly $8.1 billion made in early October when the company disclosed preliminary results for the quarter, the year and as far out as 2023. Typically, its actual results closely track the preliminary figures. Deutsche Post DHL (OTCUS: DPSGY) will issue its 2022 forecast in March when it releases its final results for 2021.

For 2023, the Bonn-based company said it expects to post EBIT of $9.24 billion, up from earlier projections of $8.55 billion.

Through the first nine months of 2021, EBIT and net income doubled from the same period in 2020, the company said. Earnings per share also more than doubled to $3.34. Deutsche Post DHL said key metrics such as EBIT have surpassed in the first nine months what it reported for all of 2020, which was a record year for the company.

Outside the U.S., Deutsche Post DHL is the world’s most visible transport and logistics provider. It has served international markets since its founding in 1969. The company operates a formidable portfolio of air express, air and ocean forwarding, supply chain management, and e-commerce services. For example, its DHL Supply Chain unit is the world’s largest contract logistics provider. The parent company also operates an intra-German parcel and mail service.

DHL Express, the company’s time-definite air express business, operated in the U.S. market from 2002 to 2009, when it withdrew from domestic U.S. service after suffering large losses over that time. Since then, the unit has served the U.S. market with international flights. Its eCommerce Solutions unit also operates in the domestic U.S., but not with its own equipment.

Because of its size and scope, the company is considered a proxy for international trade and transport activity. Its decision to raise guidance two years out signals its confidence that e-commerce volumes will be sustained and that international trade will return to pre-pandemic levels.

The quarterly gains were spread across Deutsche Post DHL’s international business units. DHL Express increased year-on-year revenue by 21.4% and EBIT by about 30%. The global air and ocean freight forwarding unit increased revenue by 53.3% and doubled its EBIT results. DHL Supply Chain reported an 18.5% revenue increase and a roughly 24% EBIT increase. The eCommerce Solutions unit posted a 13.2% revenue gain and a near 20% EBIT increase.

Near the close of Thursday trading, shares were up more than 2%, to $66.32. Shares have risen more than 41% over the past 52 weeks.

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.