Deutsche Post to sell Trans-o-Flex stake after ruling

Deutsche Post AG, Europe’s biggest postal service, plans to sell its 24.8 percent stake in the Trans- o-flex Schnell Lieferdienst GmbH parcel sorting company after a German court blocked the purchase on antitrust concerns.

Deutsche Post bought the Trans-o-flex holding in July 1997 and four years later asked Germany’s Cartel Office for permission to buy the remainder from Bayerische Landesbank. Deutsche Post went to court after regulators rejected the proposal in 2001. Germany’s Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe in a ruling today confirmed a lower court decision blocking the takeover.

“After the decision of the Federal Court of Justice, the company will continue with its good cooperation with trans-o- flex,” Bonn-based Deutsche Post said in a faxed statement today. “The extent of the cooperation will be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

Deutsche Post had argued that the two companies had different customers and capabilities. Deutsche Post’s DHL express delivery unit has 33 sorting centers in Germany handling individual packages, while Trans-o-flex breaks apart pallets of parcels, re- sorts them and sends them back out as pallets for mostly larger, corporate clients.

The Federal Court of Justice said the takeover would increase the market-dominant position of Deutsche Post on business packages sent to consumers. The ruling was the final word on the matter.

Separately, Deutsche Post said today that it bought a majority stake in Koba for an undisclosed price to expand in France.

Koba, a partner of France’s state-owned La Poste mail service, generated sales of 50 million euros ($67 million) in the fiscal year 2003 and employs 500 people, Deutsche Post said in a faxed statement. Koba’s customers include Air France-KLM Group, Credit Agricole SA and Metro AG, it said.

Deutsche Post shares rose as much as 16 cents, or 1 percent, to 16.84 euros and were up 0.5 percent at 16.76 euros as of 12:31 p.m. in Frankfurt.

DPWN Press release 21 Dec 04
Deutsche Post World Net to dispose of stake in trans-o-flex
Deutsche Post World Net will sell its 24.8% stake in trans-o-flex of Weinheim, Germany, one of Europe’s leading companies in the field of mixed freight delivery services. Following a successful restructuring operation, trans-o-flex can now boast strong earnings and revenue, as well as an excellent market position. An attractive selling price can be expected.
The backdrop to this move is a decision by the Federal Court of Justice blocking the acquisition of trans-o-flex by Deutsche Post World Net. Despite this decision, the Group will maintain its historically good working relationship with trans-o-flex. The degree of cooperation will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Deutsche Post acquired a 24.8% stake in trans-o-flex in 1997. The Federal Cartel Office was informed of the plan to acquire the remaining 75.2% from BayernFinanz in 2001 and formally prohibited the acquisition. Deutsche Post World Net then took legal action to overturn this decision. At the same time, however, the Federal Cartel Office partially lifted the prohibition imposed on Deutsche Post in order not to jeopardize the economic development of trans-o-flex. Deutsche Post World Net has played a key role in the company’s economic growth. The development of trans-o-flex has been extremely positive since then.

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