TNT Express has said it hopes to see a “positive impact” from its profit improvement plan in the second half of 2013, after reporting a 26% drop in first quarter EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) operating profit.

Financial results for the three months ended 31 March reveal that EMEA operating profit shrunk to €51m (£43m), down from €69m (£58m) in  Q1 2012, following the termination of its acquisition by UPS earlier this year.

Turnover also dropped to €1.12bn, down 2% compared to the same period last year, which it attributed to price pressure.

Chief financial officer Jeroen Seyger told investors today (29 April) that customers in the region, which remains the engine room for the group, were choosing cheaper products and sending lighter parcels, which was affecting  turnover.

The company also revealed that the implementation of its profit transformation plan ‘Deliver!’ has begun, but results are not expected until the second half of 2013.

Interim chief executive Bernard Bot said: “We reiterate our view that trading conditions in 2013 will continue to be challenging, especially in Europe. This underscores the need to optimise our market position and improve our productivity.”

As part of the ‘Deliver!’ plan, TNT sold its domestic business in China in March, and a sale of its Brazilian domestic business is currently underway.