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Fri, 25 Nov, 2016 10:05:43 PM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, Nov 25

National postal and logistic service provider Posti Group announced on Friday it was launching a new service to help elderly people enjoy more outdoor activities.

The service, called Befriending, will start in January 2017 and is already available for booking.

According to Posti, a "befriender" will visit the customer at an agreed time, either once or twice a week for 30 minutes to an hour. During the first visit, the Posti befriender agrees with the elderly client about his or her needs and wishes for the service. The service price will be 17.25 euros (18.31 U.S. dollars) for 30 minutes or 34.50 per hour, according to the company.

"Our aim is to make the everyday lives of our elderly customers more active and social. Befrienders help customers to maintain their physical capability," said Petri Kokkonen, director of Posti's home services, in a press release.

On the basis of the population projection made by Statistic Finland, the number of persons aged 65 or over will account for 22 percent of the population by 2020.

Facing a sharp decrease in its mail delivery, Posti has been looking for new forms of business to stay afloat. In April this year, the company launched a lawn-mowing service. Then it also introduced some other seasonal services, such as leaf raking and snow clearing.

Founded in 1638, Posti Group is a state-owned company of Finland operating in more than 11 countries around Europe. In 2014, the group slashed about 1,100 jobs. In June 2015, it announced the closure of nearly 80 percent of post offices across the country and 300 job cuts.

Posti's CEO Heikki Malinen said earlier that digitalization had reduced overall delivery volumes to the level of the 1960s.

In 2015, the number of delivered letters and other addressed shipments dropped by 102 million. The sharp fall in delivery volumes reduced Posti's profit by some 75 million euros.

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