Brussels, 4 June 2012
Mergers: Commission approves joint-venture between French "La Poste" and "Swiss Post", subject to conditions
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint-venture between the French and Swiss postal incumbents La Poste and Swiss Post to carry out most of their current activities in the area of international mail delivery services. The decision is conditional upon the divestiture of the subsidiary of Swiss Post in France. The Commission had concerns that the transaction, as initially notified, might have reinforced La Poste's dominance on the French market. In light of the commitments offered by the parties, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "The commitments package includes the sale of Swiss Post International France to a third party. This will maintain the competitive dynamics in the international business mail market in France and customers will continue to benefit from choice and affordable services."
The JV's core business will consist of different activities related to postal services outside the respective home territories of La Poste and Swiss Post. In particular the joint-venture will take over their current activities in the area of international mail delivery services, except the inbound and outbound mail activities carried out by La Poste in France and Swiss Post in Switzerland.
The Commission’s investigation found that the transaction, as initially notified, would have further increased La Poste's dominance on the French market for standard outbound international addressed mail delivery services offered to business customers, because it would have led to the disappearance of a dynamic player on a market with shrinking volumes and on which no new entrants are to be expected. Therefore, the merger would have involved less choice and possibly higher prices for customers.
During the first-phase review, Swiss Post offered to divest its subsidiary active in France in order to alleviate the Commission's concerns.
These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the Commission. The Commission has therefore concluded that the proposed transaction will not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments, which will be monitored by an independent trustee.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 11 May 2012.
Companies and products
La Poste is a public postal operator and the designated universal service provider in France. It is active in mail, express, parcel and banking services.
Swiss Post is the public postal operator of Switzerland. It is active in mail, express and parcel services, as well as financial services and passenger transport.
The JV will provide the following services: international outbound business mail delivery services, mail preparation services, marketing for print media, contract logistics for print media distribution, logistics services, express delivery services as well as freight forwarding and international standard business-to-consumer parcel delivery in various Member States all across the EEA.
Merger control rules and procedures
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
A non-confidential version of today's decision will be available at: