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Deutsche Post To Settle Arguments

October 19, 2000

BONN, Germany (AP) _ A month before its shares begin trading publicly, Germany’s government-owned postal service Deutsche Post AG said Thursday it had moved to settle two regulatory disputes that have complicated next month’s planned stock sale.

Deutsche Post said it reached an accord with the British Post Office, which had accused it of intercepting, surcharging and delaying cross-border mail. It also pledged to modify rebate schemes encouraging large mail-order customers not to use rival services.

The moves come in response to investigations into Deutsche Post by European Union antitrust authorities who suspect the Bonn-based company of illegally abusing its dominant position in its home market.

``We hope these decisions will have a positive influence on the two EU competition investigations,″ said Deutsche Post spokesman Uwe Bensien.

Still, the former monopoly still faces a third and potentially more significant inquiry into whether profits from its monopoly letter-delivery service in Germany were used to subsidize other activities.

That inquiry could involve the repayment of billions of marks by Deutsche Post, denting the company’s balance sheet just as the government prepares to list between 25 percent and 33 percent of its shares in one of the biggest stock sales in Europe this year.

The shares are to go on sale Oct. 30 and begin trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Nov. 20.

The EU began probing Deutsche Post in August following complaints from U.S. rival United Parcel Service Inc., the Dutch postal authority and others that Deutsche Post is competing unfairly.

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