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Poste Italiane forecasts rising profit and dividends to 2024

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MILAN (Reuters) - Poste Italiane expects its operating profit to rise to 2.2 billion euros ($2.63 billion) by 2024, from 1.5 billion euros last year, helped by cost cuts and increased revenue.

In its 2019-2024 business plan announced on Friday, the state-controlled conglomerate - which comprises financial operations including insurance and digital payments as well as its traditional mail and parcels business - projected net profit of 1.6 billion euros in 2024, against to 1.2 billion euros last year.

Its 2024 revenue target is 12.7 billion euros, compared with last year's 10.5 billion euros.

The company also pledged to boost dividend payments by 6% a year up to 2024, starting from a floor of 0.55 euros to be paid on 2021 results, up 14% from 2020.

Poste Italiane said its mail and parcels division would turn into a "profitable logistics player" by 2025, when revenues from parcels operations would exceed general mail.

"The turnaround in mail and parcels is fully under way ... we will become a fully-fledged logistics player with a sustainable business," Chief Executive Matteo Del Fante said in a statement.

The smaller payments and mobile division is expected to more than double revenue by 2024, helped by value-added services such as energy products to be offered in early 2022, the group said.

The group also expects increased demand for its insurance services, supported by health and property protection after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its financial services division, however, is projected to register a drop in the operating profit in 2024, reflecting higher costs.

(Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; Editing by Valentina Za and David Goodman)