3.3 Intangible fixed assets

Accounting policies


Goodwill represents the excess of the cost of acquisition over the fair value of PostNL’s share of the identifiable net assets acquired. Goodwill on acquisitions of subsidiaries is included in intangible assets. Goodwill on acquisition of joint ventures and associates is included in investments in joint ventures/associates and is not separately recognised or tested for impairment. Gains and losses on disposal of an entity include the carrying amount of goodwill relating to the entity sold.

Separately-recognised goodwill arising on acquisitions is capitalised and subject to an annual impairment review. Goodwill is carried at cost less accumulated impairment losses.

Other intangible fixed assets

Costs related to the development and installation of software for internal use are capitalised at historical cost and amortised over the estimated useful life. Other intangible assets acquired in a business combination are recognised at fair value at the acquisition date.

An asset under construction is transferred to its respective intangible asset category at the moment it is ready for use and is amortised using the straight-line method over its estimated useful life. Other intangible assets are valued at the lower of historical cost less amortisation and impairment. The asset’s residual value and useful life is reviewed on an annual basis and, if necessary, changes are accounted for prospectively.

For the accounting policy concerning impairments of goodwill and other intangible fixed assets, reference is made to note 5.4.

PostNL Intangible fixed assets in million

Amortisation percentage 10%- 35%0%- 35%
Historical cost24323863545
Accumulated amortisation and impairments(36)(139)(14)(190)
Balance at 1 January 20222079849354
Additions 73679
Internal transfers/reclassifications 17(17)
Amortisation (41)(3)(44)
Total changes 49(14)35
Historical cost24329752593
Accumulated amortisation and impairments(36)(150)(17)(204)
Balance at 31 December 202220714735389

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PostNL Intangible fixed assets in million

Amortisation percentage 10%- 35%0%- 35%
Historical cost24329752593
Accumulated amortisation and impairments(36)(150)(17)(204)
Balance at 1 January 202320714735389
Additions 561875
Internal transfers/reclassifications 20(20)
Amortisation (52)(4)(55)
Impairments (1) (1)
Total changes023(5)18
Historical cost24334049633
Accumulated amortisation and impairments(36)(170)(20)(226)
Balance at 31 December 202320717129407

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Goodwill is allocated to the Group’s cash-generating units (CGUs) and tested for impairment. The CGUs correspond to an operation in a particular country or region and the nature of the services provided. The CGU Parcels relates to our e-commerce and logistic services activities in the Benelux. The CGU Spring relates to our cross-border mail and parcels activities. Compared to 2022, the CGU structure has not changed.

PostNL Goodwill per CGU in million
2022, 2023

Year ended at 31 December20222023
Mail in the Netherlands174174

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Based on the 2023 financial performance, a detailed review has been performed of the recoverable value of each CGU. The recoverable value is the higher of the value in use and fair value less costs of disposal. Fair value less costs of disposal represents the best estimate of the amount PostNL would receive if it sold the CGU. The recoverable value of each CGU is determined based on the value in use. The value in use has been calculated on the basis of the present value of estimated future net cash flows.

For both mature markets and non-mature markets, the estimated future net cash flows are based on a five-year (2022: five-year) forecast and business plan, which forecast period has been assessed as adequate to reach a sustainable basis for the calculation of the continuing value. PostNL has determined the budgeted gross margin based on past performance and its expectations for market and regulatory development. The cash flow projections have been approved by management.

Key assumptions used to determine the recoverable values for each individual CGU are the following:

  • The discount rate to be applied following the nature of the underlying cash flows and foreign currency and inflation-related risks.
  • The (long-term) growth rate to be applied following the maturity of the underlying market, regulatory developments, market share and volume development.

The weighted average pre-tax discount rate used was around 11.5% (2022: around 11.5%) for the CGU Parcels and around 9.0% (2022: around 9.0%) for the CGU Mail in NL. The weighted average growth rate used was based on a long-term assumed inflation rate of 2.0% (2022: 2.0%) for all CGUs, with a downward adjustment for the CGU Mail in NL to reflect the ongoing volume decline (2024: assumed volume decline of 7% to 9%). The growth rates used did not change materially compared to the previous year.

Management has carried out an impairment test for each individual CGU and concluded that the recoverable amount of the individual CGUs is significantly higher than the carrying amount. Management has also assessed that a reasonably possible change in key assumptions, being discount rate and growth rate, would not cause the carrying amount of any of the CGUs to exceed the recoverable amount.

Software and other intangibles

The closing balance of software and other intangibles is built up as follows:

PostNL Software and other intangibles in million
2022, 2023

Year ended at 31 December20222023
Internally-generated software145169
Purchased software21
Software under construction4
Customer lists3129

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The additions to software mainly concerned IT investments related to replacement and improvement of sorting and delivery processes within Mail in the Netherlands and Parcels, software licenses and costs of internally-generated software for various IT projects including investments in our online landscape, logistic service platform and back-office functionality. The reclassification from other intangibles was due to finalised IT projects.

The estimated amortisation expenses for software and other intangible assets are:

  • 2024: €56 million,
  • 2025: €49 million,
  • 2026: €38 million, and
  • thereafter: €57 million.

Software and other intangible assets include an amount of €3 million (2022: €2 million) of capitalised development costs.