Outlook 2021

Our FY 2020 performance was extraordinary and exceeded earlier expectations. We ended the year with a strong financial position which is an excellent starting point for further growth and value creation for our stakeholders. Strong focus on capital allocation is essential to ensure we use our financial capital as efficiently as possible.

We continue to manage our Parcels segment for profitable growth. PostNL is well positioned to capture the ongoing, strong e-commerce growth. Our digital platforms enable us to offer e-tailers and consumers greater control over sending and delivery. Our strategic focus will be on balancing volume and value by expanding our capacity to accommodate further growth. As an example, our innovative small parcels sorting centre will become operational in the course of this year.

Within Mail in the Netherlands, we focus on keeping physical mail relevant and generating a stable cashflow performance. The consolidation with Sandd has delivered synergies as the integration was fully completed by 1 February 2020. To offset the negative impact of ongoing volume decline, we are introducing further efficiencies and synergies across our operations, such as rolling out the New mail route, to realise cost savings and strengthen our services.

With the step-up in consumer preference towards online shopping and the fast developments in digitalisation and technology, now is the right moment to launch our Digital Next programme. We aim to strengthen our competitive position by further building on our platforms, connecting customers and consumers through simple and smart digital journeys.

PostNL’s long-term value creation is connected to the global UN Sustainable Development Goals. We have set ourselves a number of ambitious environmental goals to combat climate change, including emission-free last-mile delivery in the Benelux by 2030.

For 2021, the outlook for normalised EBIT is between €205 million and €225 million (2020: €245 million, €190 million excluding the estimated non-recurring Covid-19 impact). Normalised EBIT in 2021 includes around €(20) million additional (non-cash) pension expenses and around €(10) million operating costs for the acceleration of digitalisation.

The free cash flow outlook for 2021 is between €200 million and €230 million (2020: €186 million). Free cash flow in 2021 includes a €(16) million pension settlement payment and around €(15) million expenditure for the acceleration of digitalisation.

The following table shows our outlook for 2021 on normalised EBIT and free cash flow.

PostNL Outlook 2021 in million



2020 corrected for non-recurring impact Covid-19

2021 outlook




Normalised EBIT



205 - 225

including ~(30) for Digital Next and increase in non-cash pension expenses

Free cash flow1



200 - 230

including ~(15) for Digital Next


Other main financial indicators


2021 indicative





(140) - (160)


Changes in pension liabilities2




∆ pension expense and pension cash contribution

Normalised comprehensive income




  • 1 Cash flow before dividend, acquisitions, redemption of bonds/other financing activities; after payment of leases.
  • 2 Including settlement payment for transitional plans of €200 million in 2020 and €16 million in 2021.

Other non-financial targets for 2021:

  • Share of highly satisfied customers: 37% (2020: 37%)

  • Share of engaged employees: 81% (2020: 84%, which was positively impacted by Covid-19)

  • Delivery quality Mail in the Netherlands at/above the minimum required level of 95% (2020: preliminary 94%)

  • Delivery quality Parcels in the Netherlands at/above 98% (2020: 99%)

  • CO2 efficiency of 205 gramme per kilometre (2020: 249)