Delay from the accountant forces Royal Mail owner IDS to postpone the annual results

Thursday May 23, 2024 2:33 PM

Royal Mail owner IDS failed to publish its results on time

Royal Mail’s parent company International Distribution Services (IDS) has failed to publish its full year trading update on time, scheduled for 7am on Thursday morning, as a potential takeover hangs over the group.

IDS was scheduled to announce full-year 2024 results this morning, but at 7:42 a.m. the press team sent an email apologizing for the inconvenience.

It said there was “a delay in announcing our results this morning. We expect them to be there within the next hour or so.”

After several hours of silence, the company issued the following statement at 1:46 p.m.: “International Distribution Services plc today announces a postponement of the publication of its financial results for the 53 weeks ended March 31, 2024, previously scheduled for May 23, 2024.

It added: “The group’s auditor, KPMG, has requested additional time to complete usual standard procedures after their internal reviews were late in the audit timetable, delaying their latest audit process.

“The board confirms that it expects adjusted operating profit (excluding voluntary redundancy costs) for the 53 weeks ended March 31, 2024 to be broadly in line with previously published guidance,” the statement concluded.

The company said it would make a further announcement as soon as possible, but the market took the news poorly, with shares falling four percent.

It comes as IDS remains in an offering period following an announcement last week about the potential takeover of Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky by EP Group.

Last Wednesday the company said it “intends” to accept the increased takeover offer worth around £3.5 billion.

The FTSE 250 company’s shares rose as much as 20 percent after the update, with IDS saying it was likely to agree terms and price of the proposal if Kretinsky made a firm offer.

Kretinsky’s EP Group, which already owns around 27.6 per cent stake in IDS through its sister group Vesa Equity, had raised its proposal to 370p per share, including a 10p dividend.

The possible takeover comes as Britain’s embattled postal service, which was privatized in 2013, calls for urgent action to modernize its operations. Royal Mail is facing rapidly declining letter volumes and increasing competition from nimble opponents such as Amazon, Evri and DPD.

In its third quarter results, IDS said group revenues were up 9.8 per cent on the same period in 2022 as Royal Mail won back some customers, although this was partly offset by higher costs due to pay rises and inflation.

The company made a loss of £169 million in the first half of the year.

This article has been corrected to reflect this the statement issued by IDS at 1:46 p.m.

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