Facing the challenge from low-cost posts
Many EU members are on their way to implementing postal directives 97/67/EC and 2002/39/EC to create a fully liberalized market. However, the hope that liberalization would be achieved by 2009, the original date set, is less likely now than ever. A recent vote by the European Parliament agreed that member states should have at least an extra two years – until 2011 – before having to complete full market opening. Whilst not all countries have stated their intentions as to when they may be ready, both the Netherlands and Germany have indicated that they will open their postal markets as planned in 2008.
Currently, European postal markets are not yet facing significant impact from competition. As recently as last year, incumbent organisations were still dominant and Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) margins exceeded 10% in many cases. However, this is unlikely to last once deregulation is rolled out. Our belief is that by 2015, the European postal service market will have changed significantly.