Year: 2007

FedEx Domestic Time-Definite Service takes off in China

FedEx Express has now made its iconic next-business-day service available to customers throughout China. Since FedEx began its next-business-day service on 28 May, coverage has expanded from 19 to more than 30 cities, while 48-hour day-definite service is offered in more than 200 cities and counties. As a result of increasing customer demand, the number of cities being served continues to expand rapidly.

“Businesses in China have been waiting for FedEx to make this time-definite service available,” said David L. Cunningham, Jr., president, Asia Pacific, FedEx Express. “We have seen healthy and encouraging demand from our existing international customers and potential new customers. Since we began operations less than a month ago, thousands of domestic express packages have already passed through our hub in Hangzhou.”

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Precision Conversions Receives 757-200PCF Order from DHL

Precision Conversions, LLC (Precision) is pleased to announce that the company has received an award to provide DHL with their first full 15-pallet position 757-200PCF. The Rolls-Royce powered, ex-VIM Airlines aircraft (MSN 27598) will commence modification at the Flightstar Aircraft Services facility in Jacksonville, Florida this week and will be re-delivered in October, 2007. The aircraft is owned by DHL’s European Air Transport, but is expected to be operated by Blue Dart Aviation based in Chennai, India.

DHL’s Airline Director, Gordon Olafson, said that, “The Precision Conversions 757-200PCF, with its weight enhancements, is the right product at the right time to support our expanding global operations, especially in India.”

Precision Conversions has re-delivered 12 conversions to date and currently has 2 aircraft in work. The company holds 6 firm orders and contracts on more than 47 options for its 757-200PCF conversion.

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Astar Air wants to buy ABX Air

Miami’s Astar Air Cargo Holdings is seeking to enter into negotiations to acquire ABX Air, an Ohio-based cargo airline that claims Plantation-based DHL as its largest customer.

In a letter to ABX’s board Thursday, Astar boss John Dasburg said it was prepared to offer USD 7.75 per share for all of the outstanding ABX shares. ABX reported nearly 58.7 million shares outstanding as of last month, which would put Astar’s offer at about USD 454 million.

The offer comes about two weeks after DHL acquired a 49 percent equity interest and a 24.9 percent voting interest in Astar.

ABX’s shares soared 85 cents to USD 8.08 in early afternoon trading.

ABX was an affiliate of Airborne but was spun off to Airborne’s shareholders after DHL acquired Airborne’s ground operations for USD 1.05 billion in 2003. Federal rules restrict foreign ownership of U.S. airlines. DHL is an arm of Germany’s Deutsche Post.

Dasburg and an investor group acquired Astar four years ago when the airline was known as DHL Airways. The group paid USD 57 million for the airline.

“Mr. Dasburg and the ownership team have always wanted to own both carrier operations,” said Elliott Seiden, a lawyer representing Astar. “They made a proposal to DHL to buy both airlines back in 2003.”

Dasburg believes operating both Astar and ABX under one management team will create operational efficiencies, Seiden said.

ABX has received Astar’s offer and is evaluating it with advisors.

The smaller Astar has a fleet of 45 aircraft and 1,100 employees. ABX, by comparison, has about 100 aircraft and more than 6,100 full-time employees.

DHL has accounted for virtually all of ABX’s cargo in recent years, ABX reported in a regulator filing. ABX generated USD 90 million in net earnings on USD 1.26 billion in 2006. Astar is privately held.

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Hi-Media signs a 3-year advertising network contract with laposte.net

Following a request for proposals, Hi-Media renewed its association with La Poste group with the signature of a 3-year advertising network contract to market advertising space on the laposte.net portal, which attracts 1.9 million unique users and 251 million pages viewed per month (Source: Nielsen/NetRatings, Home and Work panel, May 2007).

The level of ambition and resources La Poste has dedicated to expanding its service offerings on its website have made it one of the leading portals on the French market.

The deal further reinforces Hi-Media’s leadership and the reach of its audience network over the medium term, enabling the company to make the most of vigorous growth and market consolidation in the Internet advertising market.

Market figures for May confirmed Hi-Media’s leadership position as the no. 1 independent interactive advertising network in France, with 69% coverage of French web surfers (Source: Nielsen/NetRatings, Home and Work panel, April 2007) and no. 3 in terms of number of advertisers and sales (Source: TNS Media Intelligence, aggregate raw data for January to May 2007).

Hi-Media’s Q2 2007 sales figures will be published on July 24, 2007, after market close.

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Italy government plans to privatize post office in next few years

The Italian government plans to sell stakes in the Poste Italiane-run post office, and in Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato SpA in the next few years, the Radiocor wire agency reported, citing a draft copy of the government’s 2008-2011 economic and financial planning program (DPEF).

The DPEF, which sets the country’s medium-term objectives and the broad ways to achieve them, is due to be approved later today.

Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato is a publishing house for Italy’s official journal and other government publications as well as the country’s mint.

In the next few months, the sale on the stock exchange of a stake in Fincantieri is also expected, with 51 pct of the ship-yard staying in the hands of the state, Radiocor reported, citing the document.

The DPEF also includes plans to privatize state-ferry company Tirrenia.

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Deutsche Post says it has no plans to reduce its Postbank holding

Deutsche Post AG is not planning to reduce its majority holding in Deutsche Postbank AG, a company spokeswoman said.

‘We will keep our majority stake,’ she said.

Shares in Germany’s largest retail bank rose sharply in today’s trade after comments made by Commerzbank AG management board member Wolfgang Hartmann that Postbank would make an ‘excellent addition’ to his bank re-ignited rumours of a possible takeover.

At 12.51 pm Postbank shares were 2.63 eur or 4.27 pct higher at 64.19, while the DAX was up 84.19 points or 1.08 pct at 7,885.42

Deutsche Post currently holds 50 pct plus one share in Postbank.

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Troutdale city in favor of FedEx tax break

A majority of the City Council is in favor of giving Federal Express an estimated USD 4 million break on property taxes as part of a new enterprise zone to attract industrial businesses.

The shipping conglomerate is debating relocating from Swan Island and building a larger distribution center on the Reynolds Metal site as part of a USD 1.8 billion expansion of its North American network.

FedEx has told city officials it’s prepared to invest USD 100 million in the local relocation, which could bring hundreds of jobs to East County. Troutdale could eventually expect about USD 1.6 million annually in property taxes after the tax-abatement period runs out, City Administrator John Anderson told the council.

A two-hour work session Tuesday, June 26, grew testy at times as councilors debated what one called a monumental decision. At issue is whether FedEx will build a 500,000-square-foot ground distribution facility in Troutdale or in Washington State. Troutdale appears to be at the top of the company’s list, Anderson said.

Councilor David Ripma wondered why the city would establish an enterprise zone if the company already seems committed to the Reynolds site. He and Councilor Jim Kight were against giving FedEx the tax break, which would last three years and possibly five if the zone is renewed.

The rest of the council, however, said the enterprise zone wasn’t necessarily about just FedEx, but about attracting top-flight industry in general. And there is the risk that FedEx could either go to Vancouver or Ridgefield.

FedEx officials would like to know the city’s position on the incentives by the end of June. Councilors instead scheduled a public hearing on the matter for July 10.

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Pricing in Proportion and Packetpost Returns

In February 2007, Royal Mail made an application to extend Pricing in Proportion (PiP) to Packetpost Returns.

Packetpost Returns is a service that allows packets to be returned from customers with the postage cost being borne by the original sender.

Royal Mail’s application proposed moving away from the system under which the price per item paid by the original sender is based on the average weight of the mail returned. Instead, Royal Mail proposed that an item returned through this service should be treated and charged as a packet under its PiP framework.

Royal Mail has also requested that Packetpost Returns, consistent with the greater alignment of these prices to those of normal Packetpost, should be included in the same controlled services group as Packetpost.

Postcomm conducted a consultation exercise focused on users of Packetpost Returns and other interested parties and carefully considered the points made in the responses. Following the consultation, the Commission decided to:

– allow Royal Mail to introduce a PiP price structure for Packetpost returns;
– require Royal Mail to give at least 3 months notice of the price changes following this decision;
– and reject the application to include the product in the same controlled services group as Packetpost.

Royal Mail has not yet made it clear when it will implement the new price structure for Packetpost Returns.

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