Deutsche Post plans legal action over letter monopoly

Deutsche Post, the German postal service and logistics group, is facing a demand by the country’s antitrust authority that it open up its own network to rival operators in the area of pre-delivery services for letters weighing under 100g. These include as collection and pre-sorting, among other activities. The authority has also demanded that the postal operator allow discounts to rivals in this area. Until now, it has allowed discounts only to large customers.

Deutsche Post is planning legal action against the decision in the hope of delaying the change until the ending of its monopoly on letters in 2008. It estimates that, if it were to open up its pre-delivery services to rival companies, it could lose turnover of up to 200m euros.

Deutsche Post Challenges Regulator
February 15, 2005 — [International Herald Tribune]
“The German cartel office has ordered Deutsche Post to stop hindering competitors from entering the pre-sorting business immediately, the competition watchdog said Monday, a decision that the mail and logistics giant said it would fight in court. The antitrust office upheld complaints from small and midsize companies, including the Berlin-based PIN, that Deutsche Post abused its monopoly by barring them from receiving discounts for collecting and pre-sorting business mail. “This discount practice prevented competitors’ entry into the market to collect, pre-sort and deposit mail” at Deutsche Post’s delivery centers, the Bonn-based antitrust office said. Deutsche Post reserves the discounts for big customers that want to pre-sort bulk mail such as advertising or statements, the antitrust office said. Deutsche Post, Europe’s biggest mail carrier, says it saves as much as €200 million, or $257 million, a year by restricting discounts, helping to pay for the nationwide universal postal service that it must provide under the terms of its monopoly. The company’s control over pre-sorted mail is also legally compatible with its exclusive letter license, it argues. Deutsche Post will try to overturn the antitrust ruling at a local court in Dusseldorf, a company spokesman, Uwe Bensien, said.”

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