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PostNL's third-quarter earnings fall as parcel boom slows

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(Reuters) - Dutch postal group PostNL on Monday posted third-quarter core profit in line with expectations citing slower international volume growth and disruptions in the global supply chain.

The company, which delivers parcels and letters across Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, reported normalised earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) of 23 million euros($26.57 million) in its third quarter, compared with 36 million euros a year earlier.

Analysts had expected on average a normalised EBIT of 24 million euros.

"In the third quarter of the year, the changes in VAT for small goods outside the EU and other regulation in China had a stronger temporary negative impact on international volumes than anticipated, and put pressure on the performance of both Parcels and Mail in the Netherlands," Chief Executive Herna Verhagen said in a statement.

Postal operators have experienced a surge in parcel volumes during the pandemic as coronavirus lockdowns pushed shoppers to order online.

PostNL's overall parcel volume growth of 1.6% was slower in the quarter due to reopening of non-essential stores and borders as well as some disruptions in global supply chains, the company said.

Growth in e-commerce picked up later in the quarter and is expected to continue, the company said, "with some uncertainty related to Covid-19 and the changes in VAT regulation."

Its smaller Dutch mail business missed analysts' revenue estimates of 358 million euros.

PostNL confirmed its guidance for 280-310 million euros in normalised EBIT for 2021, which it had raised in August as it benefited from a sustained boom in e-commerce under extended coronavirus lockdowns.

($1 = 0.8655 euros)

(Reporting by Dagmarah Mackos. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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