May 8, 2019 / 6:12 AM / 13 days ago

CORRECTED-Poste Italiane's Q1 operating profit falls on lower gains from govt bonds

(Corrects to clarify EBIT fell while adjusted EBIT rose, paragraph 4)

MILAN, May 8 (Reuters) - Postal service provider Poste Italiane SpA reported a 12 percent year-on-year fall in first-quarter operating profit on Wednesday, due to lower capital gains from government bond sales and higher costs.

The state-controlled conglomerate indicated earlier this year it aimed to lessen its reliance on capital gains from its large government bond holdings, which it has been using in the past to offset restructuring charges linked to layoffs.

Earning before interest and tax (EBIT) came in at 617 million euros ($691 million), down from 703 million euros in the same period of last year, according to a company statement. Adjusted to exclude one-off items EBIT rose 6 percent.

Total revenue at the group, comprising of an insurance and a financial division, the traditional mail and parcel business and a digital payments unit, fell 1.5 percent year-on-year to 2.84 billion euros.

An analyst consensus published by the group had indicated an EBIT of 607 million euros and revenue of 2.8 billion euros for the quarter.

Sales at Poste’s mail and parcel division, which are an indicator of the group’s ability to turnaround its traditional business, fell 2.1 percent for a 44 percent drop in the unit’s EBIT.

Poste said parcel revenues rose in the period, while mail revenues declined.

A new parcel sorting centre in Bologna was set to add daily capacity of 250,000 parcels, Chief Executive Matteo del Fante said. ($1 = 0.8926 euros) (Reporting by Francesca Landini and Valentina Za; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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