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Austrian Post 2018 revenue stable, sees further parcel business growth

VIENNA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Austrian Post on Friday reported a slight revenue increase for the previous year as double-digit growth in its parcel business offset declining mail earnings, and confirmed it expects revenue and earnings to stay flat in 2019.

As its rivals in other countries, the group has seen its mail business shrink in recent years. It is under increasing pressure in its home market from German competitor Deutsche Post's parcel unit DHL and Amazon, which has initiated its own delivery services in the Alpine country.

Revenue grew 1 percent to 1.96 billion euros ($2.23 billion) in 2018, the majority state-owned company said. A 2.5 percent drop in its mail business to 1.41 billion euros was compensated by a 11.5 percent rise to 552 million euros in parcel revenue.

"The company targets a stable development of revenue and operating earnings for 2019 as well," it said in a statement.

Betting on the Austrians to shop even more online in the future, Austrian Post aims to double its logistics capacities in the medium term. It is also merging its mail and parcel logistics units to streamline operations and deliver faster.

The group does not expect Britain's exit from the European Union to create major operational problems as it does not have its own operations in Britain but is cooperating with several mail and logistics groups there, a spokesman said. It was too early to make any statements regarding possible delays or any other potential logistics problems, he added.

The Vienna-based group said it was still looking for a new partner to offer financial services from 2020, as lender BAWAG will drop out of their partnership at the end of this year and a planned new cooperation with Germany's Fintech group was cancelled in November.

"The structural groundwork should be laid in 2019 for the offering of financial services by the Austrian Post branch network as of the year 2020," the group said. ($1 = 0.8776 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; editing by David Evans)