TNT sees hurdles in sale of mail to private concern

EUROPEAN parcel and letter delivery group TNT’s chief executive yesterday said he saw challenges to a private sale of its postal unit after the company said it would split its mail and express units by next year.

Peter Bakker said that while it was open to all offers, private equity and trade buyers could find an acquisition of its mail unit difficult. TNT has said it is also looking at an initial public offering as a way for the Dutch company to spin off the mail unit.

“How does private equity weigh up with one of the largest workforces in the Netherlands? I don't know how ready the Netherlands is to put its postal company in the hands of private equity,” Bakker said.

Despite a drive to liberalise the European postal market, there is no track record of mail acquisitions among trade buyers, Bakker added.

A separation of its divisions is scheduled for completion on 1 January 2011.