Argentina: Reprivatisation of postal service on hold at very least

The Argentinian government has postponed, for a third time and until June 30, 2006, the call to tender for the privatisation of the official postal service which has been in government hands for just over two years since the contract with Correo Argentino was rescinded. The decision was taken yesterday by president Nestor Kirchner ostensibly to allow for the consolidation of operations (providing the Correo Oficial de la Republica Argentina) by Corasa (Correo Argentino Sociedad Anonima), created in June 2004 to carry out postal services following Correo Argentino’s removal (it also took on Encotesa’s functions: postal, telegraph and monetary services).

However, the decision is really further confirmation that the government has decided to keep the post in State hands. Correo Argentino, part of Grupo Macri, was relieved of the concession on November 19, 2003 for not meeting contract conditions and for having run up a debt with the State of Peso$450mil. It had been awarded the concession by President Menem in July 1997. Correo Argentino Sociedad Anonima (Corasa) is now a profit-making operation, posting Peso$70mil last year and predicting Peso$17mil for this.

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