Deutsche Post to Acquire All of DHL

Deutsche Post World Net said last week that it reached agreements with two investment funds and Japan Airlines to buy the remaining 24.4 percent of DHL International Ltd. that it doesn't already own.

Deutsche Post, which is partly privatized, will pay $391 million to Chester Investment and Exeter Investment for 23 percent and pay an undisclosed amount to Japan Airlines for the other 1.4 percent.

In July, Deutsche Post bought Lufthansa AG's 25 percent stake in DHL for $595 million, raising its overall DHL holding to 75.6 percent. The move to acquire the remaining stake comes just days after the European Union approved the Lufthansa purchase Oct. 22.

DHL had sales of $6.1 billion in 2001 and employs 70,000 people.

In other news, Royal Mail struck its first deal to deliver letters in the United Kingdom for Deutsche Post, one of its commercial rivals. Royal Mail said the trial will begin as soon as possible. Gillian Wilmot, Royal Mail's managing director of mail markets, called the agreement “ground-breaking.”

Royal Mail has faced increasing pressure in the past year from foreign postal organizations taking advantage of the ongoing government plans to liberalize the postal services sector. Some of Royal Mail's postal services, including business mail, have already been opened to competition, with Deutsche Post, Business Post Group and Hays PLC among recent market entrants. Deutsche Post, for example, was recently awarded a license to collect business mail in the UK as part of government plans to liberalize the postal services sector.

The market is to be fully liberalized in three phases by April 2007. The next phase comes in January, when private sector firms will be invited to bid for bulk mail delivery contracts.

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