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UPDATE 1-Poste Italiane earnings surge 41% thanks to parcel, insurance business

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MILANO, May 12 (Reuters) - Italian postal service operator Poste Italiane on Wednesday reported a higher than expected 41% rise in first-quarter operating profit, boosted by its insurance division and higher parcel revenue.

The state-controlled group said earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) came in at 620 million euros ($752 million) in the first three months of the year, above an analyst consensus of 573 million euros.

The group, which includes insurance and financial divisions, the traditional mail and parcel business and a digital payments unit, reported revenue of 2.93 billion euros in the quarter, up from 2.67 billion euros a year earlier.

“The results are particularly positive, especially bearing in mind that, throughout the quarter, several Italian regions have been under partial lockdown,” Poste Chief Executive Matteo Del Fante said.

The traditional mail and parcel division returned to profit, as strong growth in parcel revenues offset a slight decline in the mail business.

The insurance business was the largest contributor to group earnings, while its financial division posted a loss.

The smaller payment and telecoms unit saw a 3.7% increase in its operating profit, as a rise in e-commerce transactions in Italy during the pandemic boosted digital payments.

Poste said it expected to roll out broadband services to its customers at the end of May. ($1 = 0.8249 euros) (Reporting by Elisa Anzolin, editing by Louise Heavens)

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