Deutsche Post to Be Fully Privatized

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The German government will make the necessary legislative changes to allow for a full privatization of the formerly state-owned postal services group Deutsche Post AG, according to reports.

In a draft bill expected to be approved by the Cabinet tomorrow, finance minister Hans Eichel proposed that the government sell its majority stake as early as Deutsche Post's next public offering, provided market conditions are right.

The aim was to "fully privatize the company step by step," Eichel said. Despite Deutsche Post's initial public offering in fall 2000, the government still holds a direct stake of 50 percent plus 26 shares and an indirect stake of 19 percent via state-owned development agency Kreditanstalt fŸr Wiederaufbau.

No definite date for a secondary offering has been set yet. The government said in May that it probably will sell more stock next year.

Under post office law, the government has to hold a stake of 50 percent plus one share in Deutsche Post AG over a period of at least five years. The company was converted into a stock corporation on Jan. 1, 1995. The aim of the majority shareholding was to ensure that the government could guarantee "appropriate and adequate postal services nationwide."

While Deutsche Post will remain legally obligated to provide a full range of services, the change in legislation will mean the government can relinquish control of the company via a majority shareholding.

Eichel also said the rights of postal workers would be unaffected by the new legislation.

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