Court injunction delays Brazil’s post office bidding process

Brazil’s Post and Telegraph Company (ECT) has promised improvements to its post office franchise bidding system, after a court granted an injunction halting the process. ECT opened the bidding process in December for 818 franchises to expand Brazil’s post office network, offering 10-year contracts to those meeting the eligibility criteria.

Abrapost, the association of post office franchise operators, won the court injunction last week after complaining about problems in the bidding process, including demands for documents from bidders that were difficult to obtain in time to meet set deadlines.

Its legal representative Marco Aurelio de Carvalho described the process as “compromised”, but said his organisation was keen to work with ECT to straighten out the problems.

“We just want to fix the process,” he said.

ECT said in a statement it would improve the process in line with the requirements imposed by the authorities.

The state-owned postal service said it would consider reviewing the financial terms for franchisees to make operating post offices more attractive, easing eligibility requirements to increase participation in the process, and options to expand services that can be offered in franchise post offices, such as direct marketing services.

ECT highlighted the importance of its franchise operators, stating that they are responsible for 40% of the network’s revenue.

“The Post Office reaffirms its willingness at dialogue with partners, and to remain transparent in its conduct for the bidding process, proposing improvements and seeking a balance between the interests of franchisees, the company and especially the Brazilian population,” said the postal service.

ECT said one of the key issues in the dispute with Abrapost was a requirement for a Certificate of Negative Tax Debts, which it said protected workers’ interests and could not be disregarded.

Other disputed points had been rejected by previous court judgements in favour of ECT, the postal service said.

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