PostNL has announced plans to acquire competitor postal operator Sandd for €130m (US$147.5m), subject to transaction approval by the authorities and consultation with the works councils and trade unions.
PostNL and Sandd will inform their employees about the plan today (February 25) and PostNL has made assurances that it will employ all Sandd mail deliverers. All other Sandd employees will be offered opportunities within PostNL or alternatives. According to the companies, the combination will enable PostNL and Sandd to create a strong basis for a nationwide Dutch postal network across urban and rural areas, safeguarding a sustainable postal service for everyone, including the elderly and socially vulnerable groups.
PostNL and Sandd will file their intention to combine the networks with the supervisory authority ACM today (February 25). Under the Competition Act, the ACM has the authority to review those aspects of the transaction in accordance with the competition law.
The ACM review comprises two phases, a notification phase and a permitting phase. This approval process has a legal term of, in principle, four weeks for the first phase and 13 weeks for the second phase, with a possible extension in case the ACM requires further clarifications.
In the event that the ACM withholds approval, the parties can apply for approval to the State Secretary of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. She has the authority to grant approval on the basis of significant public interest. A comprehensive approval process provides clarity and assurance for all employees involved. Both companies have notified their works councils and the trade unions of the proposed transaction and both works councils are positive about the intended transaction.
Herna Verhagen, CEO PostNL, said, “This proposed transaction will secure the foundation for a sustainable postal service in the Netherlands. Combining the two national postal networks is of vital importance for the postal market in the Netherlands to remain reliable, affordable, innovative and accessible for everyone. It will also serve increased long-term employment security for mail deliverers. This has always been an important objective of our efforts.”
Ronald van de Laar, managing director Sandd Holding, commented, “I am very proud of what has been achieved by my colleagues following the liberalization of the postal market. In responding to the ever-decreasing mail volumes in the Netherlands caused by digitization, we need to be realistic. For this reason, opting for one strong national postal network is the best long-term solution for the consumer, the business sector and for employees.
“It is the only solution if we are to guarantee the continuity of the postal service in the Netherlands. Issues affecting the integration of our networks and our employees will also be carefully discussed between us. The sooner we receive the necessary approval, the better it will be for all parties involved.”