The European Commission has given the green light for La Poste and Swiss Post to create their new joint venture to combine their international mail activities.
The French and Swiss national postal operators announced back in December that they wanted to merge their cross-border mail businesses, looking to better compete against the major players in the international market.
The EU Commission said yesterday that the move can happen so long as Swiss Post pulls out of its French subsidiary, Swiss Post International France.
Swiss Post had offered to sell its French unit in order to gain the EU antitrust clearance. The Commission had concerns that retaining the subsidiary would give La Poste further dominance in the French cross-border mail market.
Following the agreement of Swiss Post to sell the unit, the Commission said it had no further competition concerns about the new joint venture.
Joaquín Almunia, the Commission’s vice president for competition policy, said: “The commitments package includes the sale of Swiss Post International France to a third party. This will maintain the competitive dynamics in the international business mail market in France and customers will continue to benefit from choice and affordable services.”
La Poste and Swiss Post had requested EU clearance for their joint venture back in May 2012. The new business would include all of the companies’ international mail activities, except for inbound and outbound activities at La Poste in France and Swiss Post in Switzerland.
The new venture will provide international outbound business mail delivery services and mail preparation services, logistics services, express delivery services and freight forwarding.
It will also offer marketing and contract logistics for the print media industry, and international standard business-to-consumer parcel delivery – which would include ecommerce packages.
More details about the new joint venture could be announced by La Poste and Swiss Post as early as next week, once final adjustments have been made in the light of the Commission approval.
The EU Commission said its investigation had suggested that without the sale of Swiss Post International France, La Poste would have increased its dominance of the standard outbound international addressed mail delivery services for business customers in France.
The Commission said the joint venture would have put an end to the “dynamic player” Swiss Post International France in a market that has shrinking volumes and no new entrants expected.
Commenting on the decision by the Commission, La Poste spokesman David Drujon told Post&Parcel today: “La Poste and Swiss Post are satisfied by the obtaining of the statutory authorizations of the European Commission necessary for the creation of a joint-venture to develop more on the market of the international mail.”
Swiss Post spokesman Mariano Masserini confirmed that Swiss Post International France will now be sold, but could not say when this would take place.
Source: Post&Parcel/EU Commission/La Poste