By Dagmarah Mackos
(Reuters) - Belgian postal operator Bpost cut its 2022 earnings forecast on Wednesday, warning record low consumer confidence could hit volumes in the peak holiday season.
The group said higher energy and labour costs and uncertain volume trends would likely weigh on its fourth-quarter results.
Delivery and postal firms from Dutch PostNL to Germany's Deutsche Post and U.S.-based FedEx saw their parcel volumes drop after the pandemic-driven spike, and have signalled further signs of slowing demand as high inflation erodes consumer confidence.
Inflation in Bpost's home market Belgium rose to 12.27% in October, its highest since June 1975.
The Brussels-based company now expects to report adjusted operating profit (EBIT) of between 265 million and 300 million euros ($266 million and $301 million), compared with its previous outlook of 280 million to 310 million euros.
But it still expects price increases, cost cuts and higher volumes in the last quarter of the year to limit the impact of unfavourable macroeconomic conditions on 2022 earnings to 15 million euros, compared with 25 million euros previously.
Bpost's adjusted EBIT fell 33.5% to 26.0 million euros in the third quarter, beating analysts' forecast of 17.8 million euros in a company-provided poll.
"Results continue to track towards guidance range in seasonally softer quarter, driven by underlying parcels volume growth and pricing measures, mail price increase offsetting volume decline," the group said in a statement.
($1 = 0.9961 euros)
(Reporting by Dagmarah Mackos; Editing by Milla Nissi)