Deutsche Post DHL took a €70m hit on its operating profits in February as a result of the coronavirus.

The express, parcel and logistics giant said that it had a very good start to the year in January and was prepared for the usual effects around Chinese New Year.

However, since then, its express and freight forwarding businesses have been particularly affected by a decline in cross-border trade flows into and out of China.

This comes as Chinese New Year holiday office and factory closures were extended to try and contain the outbreak.

Group-wide, the negative impact of the coronavirus crisis on earnings, before interest and tax (ebit) amounted to around €60-70m for the month of February, compared to the
initial internal planning.

Implications for the group results for full year 2020 “cannot be currently concretely assessed”, the company said.

Should the macroeconomic situation normalise again, there could also be positive effects for logistics companies, DP DHL said.

However, in case of a longer duration or a worsening of the current situation over the coming months, the negative impact for the group is likely to outweigh the positives.

Chief executive Frank Appel said: “Deutsche Post DHL Group had a very good year 2019 and a successful start to 2020 in January.

“Thanks to our broad geographic set-up and our comprehensive portfolio we are more resilient than other companies.

“However, a worldwide crisis like the coronavirus does not leave us unaffected.

“It is currently hard to judge how strong the impact on our business will be.”

The 2020 guidance for a group ebit of more than €5bn now excludes any still to be quantified effect induced by corona implications.

Deutsche Post DHL Group continued to post profitable growth during the past financial year.

Group revenue was up 2.9% year on year to €63.3bn, with all five divisions contributing to this positive performance.

The group’s ebit improved by 30.6% compared with the previous year in which earnings were impacted by one-time effects, reaching €4.1bn.

The Post & Parcel Germany division contributed €1.2bn to earnings; the Express division generated ebit of €2bn; forwarding and freight €521m; and supply chain €912m.

The eCommerce Solutions division recorded a loss of €51m.