TNT Post Group Forms Alliance with British Post Office and Singapore Post

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Dutch postal giant TNT Post Group N.V., Amsterdam, said yesterday it has formed a cross-border, joint venture with the British Post Office and Singapore Post, strengthening its number one position in the international mail market.

The combined company will be the world's largest business mailing partnership, servicing 200 countries and with total sales of $429.4 million, the companies said at a press conference in Amstedam.

The joint venture will be headquartered in Belgium, and will be 51 percent-owned by TPG with the remainder equally divided between the state-owned British Post Office and Singapore Post, which is a subsidiary of Singapore Telecom.

According to the companies, customers throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Asia Pacific region will benefit from the synergies of the joint venture, which include access to a combined worldwide delivery network; the development of specialized products and services; and the ability to offer a wide-range of pricing options.,

"Direct marketers, publishers, e-commerce merchants...will all benefit from the springboard to Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas," said Ad Scheepbouwer, TPG chief executive officer, said in a statement.

All three partners have a global marketing expertise: TPG and the British Post Office have mailing and distribution services throughout Europe, the Asia Pacific region and the Americas; and Singapore Post, has state-of-the-art facilities in Asia and established business relationships there.

The joint-venture was not as large as investors had hoped for, said analysts, as TPG has been subject to speculation for some time it would link up with United Parcel Services in the United States.

The move comes as the European Union's 15 member states are preparing to liberalize their national postal markets by 2003. By sealing the joint venture TPG, the EU's most liberalized and most profitable mail operator, firms its competitive position.

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