1.6 IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE
POŠTA SLOVENIJE GROUP IN 2020
Upon the outbreak of the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus pandemic (hereinafter: COVID-19) in March 2020, the Pošta Slovenije Group responded quickly and immediately began implementing all the measures required to protect the health of its employees. Despite often very difficult work conditions it succeeded in ensuring the smooth flow of postal, parcel, logistics and other services.
In connection with the emergence of COVID-19, Pošta Slovenije carried out activities to control the COVID-19 pandemic in an organised manner (and we continue to perform them) in the scope of its extraordinary event response team (hereinafter: EERT), which was organised and operated in accordance with Pošta Slovenije d. o. o.’s plan of response to extraordinary events and other documents in the business continuity management system of Pošta Slovenije. The aim of these efforts, through the organised and active monitoring of developments connected with the emergence of COVID-19 at the level of individual organisational units, was to plan and appropriately coordinate with other organisational units the implementation of activities and measures to protect to the greatest possible extent the safety and health of employees and customers, and to ensure business continuity.
We adopted preventive measures to prevent the spread of infections. We published the information and instructions for the provision of services during the COVID-19 pandemic (contactless delivery, changed rules regarding the service of individual types of mail on delivery, non-performance of certain services, such as delivery with carriage into residence, removal of old appliances with carriage into residence, removal of goods subject to a complaint with carriage into residence; request for service users to use online methods of payment when paying for goods in online stores; preparation of items at customers in a way that facilitates contactless collection and delivery). We adopted additional security and protective measures (individual entrances to the post office, the installation of hand sanitisers in customer areas, secure storage of postal items, gradual arrival of postmen to the workplace, adjustment of the work process and operating hours of post offices to the changed situation). We provided hand sanitisers for postmen, branches and sanitisers for disinfection of surfaces, protective masks for employees and disinfection of premises. We enabled work from home for positions where the work process so allows.
The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Intervention Measures to Mitigate the Effects of the COVID-19 Infectious Disease Epidemic on Citizens and the Economy Act (ZIUZEOP) and the Intervention Measure Act on the Deferral of Payments of Borrowers’ Obligations (ZIUOPOK). The Pošta Slovenije Group took advantage of the legally prescribed economic assistance offered under both the ZIUOPOK and ZIUZEOP. In that regard, the Pošta Slovenije Group disclosed a total of EUR 8.8 million in revenues, while labour costs were up by EUR 3.6 million as the result of the payment of a crisis bonus. Costs for preventive assets amounted to EUR 1.6 million.
Given the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures tied to it, we adopted the revised business plan for 2020 in June 2020. In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak required the Pošta Slovenije Group to conduct a review and evaluation of all initiated and planned investments and strategic projects, and focus on key development investments, which we also carried out to a large extent.
Like in many other companies, the Pošta Slovenije Group’s performance was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Pošta Slovenije recorded a decline in letter mail and services in the business network, but on the other hand also recorded sharp growth in parcels from growth in online shopping. The re-declaration of a pandemic in the second half of October 2020 and the associated measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 had a significant impact on the increase in the shipping of parcels, which caused problems in parcel sorting and in the postal network. Growth in revenues from parcel services covered the entire loss in revenues in all other business segments at the end of the year.
The decline in global economic activity as the result of the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 also negatively impacted the performance of the Intereuropa Group (hereinafter: IE Group), which is reflected in a 6% drop in sales revenue relative to 2019.
The performance of activities and measures required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also continued into 2021.