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DHL Group meets market expectations in Q3 2023 and proves financial strength in weak global environment

11/08/2023, 07:00 AM CET

Group revenue in the third quarter at EUR 19.4 billion.

The Group's headquarters
  • Group revenue in the third quarter at EUR 19.4 billion
  • Operating profit amounts to EUR 1.4 billion
  • Group generates free cash flow of EUR 1.1 billion in third quarter and EUR 2.5 billion in first nine months 
  • Group narrowed 2023 EBIT forecast to EUR 6.2-6.6 billion in line with the two remaining macroeconomic scenarios – previous scenario for a rapid V-shaped recovery of the global economy no longer applies
  • 2025 EBIT expected between EUR 7.0 and EUR 8.0 billion 
  • Gross investments of EUR 871 million in the third quarter for further international growth
  • CEO Tobias Meyer: "The recovery of the global economy has failed to materialize so far. However, through investments in growth areas of our global business, we are well prepared for the moment when the global economy recovers."

Bonn - Continuing weak global economic development and the normalization of freight transport after the pandemic-related boom of 2021 and 2022 also impacted the third quarter of 2023. As expected, the Group did not match the prior-year figures with revenue of EUR 19.4 billion (Q3 2022: EUR 24.0 billion) and operating profit (EBIT) of EUR 1.4 billion (Q3 2022: EUR 2.0 billion). Lower freight volumes and rates as well as exchange rate and fuel cost effects impacted the DHL business. Earnings for the Post & Parcel Germany division reflect cost increases and the detrimental regulatory environment for the mail business. Despite these external effects, the Group achieved free cash flow of EUR 1.1 billion in the third quarter and EUR 2.5 billion in the first nine months of 2023. This proves DHL Group's structurally improved performance and financial strength even in a weak economic environment.

CEO Tobias Meyer

"We are ready for the upswing"

CEO Tobias Meyer explains what the Group aims to achieve in the final quarter of 2023, what impact geopolitical crises have on DHL Group and why permanent cross-subsidization of Post & Parcel Germany is not possible. 

Investors' conference call

CFO Melanie Kreis and CEO Tobias Meyer explained the Group results for Q3 2023.

DHL Group generated total net profit after non-controlling interests of EUR 807 million in the third quarter of 2023 (Q3 2022: EUR 1.2 billion). Basic earnings per share in the same period therefore amounted to EUR 0.68, compared with EUR 1.01 in the previous year. 

Further continuous investment in international growth markets

In the third quarter of 2023, DHL Group generated operating cash flow of EUR 2.5 billion (Q3 2022: EUR 3.5 billion). Free cash flow was EUR 1.1 billion (Q3 2022: EUR 1.8 billion). In the first nine months of this year, DHL Group achieved free cash flow of EUR 2.5 billion (9M 2022: EUR 2.3 billion). 

The Group further invested in growth markets and trends, while investments and costs in Germany were adjusted to the detrimental regulatory environment. Gross capital expenditure (capex) amounted to EUR 871 million in the third quarter (Q3: 2022: EUR 958 million). In addition to investments in sustainable business activities such as low-emission logistics infrastructure, the focus was on the automation and digitalization of operational processes. By strengthening the global DHL network, the Group also offers its customers solutions for their omnishoring strategies to reduce their dependencies on individual locations and to increase their diversification. Strategic investments include, for example, programs of the DHL Supply Chain division in Latin America and Southeast Asia. By 2028, the company will have committed EUR 500 million (Latin America) and EUR 350 million (Southeast Asia) to strengthening these strategically important logistics markets.   

Forecast for 2023 narrowed – two macroeconomic scenarios remaining 

DHL Group generated consolidated revenue of EUR 60.4 billion in the first nine months of 2023 (9M 2022: EUR 70.7 billion). Operating profit also developed in line with expectations in the same period, at EUR 4.7 billion (9M 2022: EUR 6.5 billion). 

The Group narrowed its earnings forecast for 2023 to EUR 6.2 to EUR 6.6 billion as a recovery of the global economy has not materialized yet. The macroeconomic scenarios were narrowed as follows: 

  • V-shaped recovery: The scenario for a recovery of the global economy from the beginning of the second half of 2023 and an EBIT of around EUR 7.0 billion is no longer applicable. 
  • U-shaped recovery: In the event of a recovery at the end of the year, DHL expects an EBIT of around EUR 6.6 billion (scenario unaltered). 
  • L-shaped scenario: In the unfavourable case of no significant recovery of the global economy in the remainder of the financial year, an EBIT of at least EUR 6.2 billion is expected (scenario unaltered).

For the DHL divisions, DHL Group is expecting an EBIT between EUR 5.7 and EUR 6.1 billion (previously EUR 5.7 to EUR 6.5 billion) in 2023. For Post & Parcel Germany, the company still plans for an EBIT between EUR 800 million and EUR 1.0 billion.

For 2025 DHL Group expects an EBIT between EUR 7.0 and EUR 8.0 billion (previously more than EUR 8.0 billion).

Express: effective yield and cost management

The decline in revenue at DHL Express takes into account negative currency effects of EUR 439 million and lower fuel surcharges. Excluding currency effects and fuel surcharges, revenue in the third quarter decreased by 6.4 percent. As a result of continued weak market conditions, daily Time Definite International shipment volumes (TDI) decreased by 2.7 percent. In addition to currency effects, EBIT was impacted by temporary negative effects from the increase in fuel prices. The division countered this development with continuous productivity improvements, optimized use of network capacity and effective cost management.


Express Q3 2022 Q3 2023 YOY(4)
Revenue(1) 7,197 5,885 −18.2(2)
EBIT(1) 1,012 667 −34.1(2)
EBIT margin(2) 14.1 11.3 −2.8(3)
(1) in EUR million (2) in percent (3) in percentage points (4) Year-Over-Year

Global Forwarding, Freight: expected decline in air and ocean freight revenue

Revenue and EBIT in the Global Forwarding, Freight division decreased as expected due to lower volumes in both air and ocean freight and normalizing freight rates. Excluding negative currency effects of EUR 307 million, revenue was 40.1 percent lower than in the same period of the previous year.


Global Forwarding, Freight Q3 2022 Q3 2023 YOY(4)
Revenue(1) 7,892 4,417 −44.0(2)
EBIT(1) 573 306 −46.6(2)
EBIT margin(2) 7.3 6.9 −0.4(3)
(1) in EUR million (2) in percent (3) in percentage points (4) Year-Over-Year

Supply Chain: continued growth in revenue and earnings

Excluding negative currency effects of EUR 191 million, revenue growth at DHL Supply Chain was 6.3 percent. Revenue growth was supported by new business, contract extensions and growing e-commerce business. In addition to positive revenue development, productivity increases supported earnings growth through digitalization and standardization.


Supply Chain Q3 2022 Q3 2023 YOY(4)
Revenue(1) 4,184 4,258 +1.8(2)
EBIT(1) 219 242 +10.5(2)
EBIT margin(2) 5.2 5.7 +0.5(3)
(1) in EUR million (2) in percent (3) in percentage points (4) Year-Over-Year

eCommerce: revenue slightly below previous year's level

Excluding negative currency effects of EUR 59 million, revenue at DHL eCommerce was 3.2 percent above the previous year's figure. EBIT for the division decreased mainly as a result of higher costs and continued investment in network expansion.


eCommerce Q3 2022 Q3 2023 YOY(4)
Revenue(1) 1,489 1,477 −0.8(2)
EBIT(1) 87 55 −36.8(2)
EBIT margin(2) 5.8 3.7 −2.1(3)
(1) in EUR million (2) in percent (3) in percentage points (4) Year-Over-Year

Post & Parcel Germany: ongoing structural change shapes business performance

The main reasons for the slight revenue growth at Post & Parcel Germany were higher parcel prices for business customers and increased volumes in the domestic and international business with merchandise-carrying shipments. This was mostly offset by the decline in volumes in the German mail business by 6.1 percent, which was attributable to ongoing structural change in mail and communication business as well as receding advertising mail revenues in the face of inflation and consumer restraint. The decline in EBIT is owed to higher material costs due to inflation and charges on staff costs resulting from high collective wage agreements.


Post & Parcel Germany Q3 2022 Q3 2023 YOY(4)
Revenue(1) 3,948 3,959 +0.3(2)
EBIT(1) 290 207 −28.6(2)
EBIT margin(2) 7.3 5.2 −2.1(3)
(1) in EUR million (2) in percent (3) in percentage points (4) Year-Over-Year

Daniel Gabel

Financial Communications, Global Business Services

DHL Group
Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 20
53113 Bonn
Germany