European Union trust busters ordered Deutsche Post to pay back up to $1.3 billion in aid from the German government that breached the bloc’s competition rules.
Germany’s former postal monopoly benefited from a combination of highly regulated prices and pension relief subsidies. This gave the carrier an economic advantage over private rivals, especially in sectors like parcel delivery where it faces strong competition, the European Commission said.
Deutsche Post, which expanded into transport and logistics and owns DHL Express, should refund “incompatible aid in the range of $650 million-$1.3 billion,” the Commission ruled. But the company can retain $7.3 billion of government aid granted between 1990 and 1995 for operating a universal postal service.
The EU’s executive also ordered Belgium’s bpost, jointly owned by CVC Capital Partners and the Belgium government, to refund $542 million of illegal state aid. But is cleared $4.95 billion of pension relief granted in 1997. The Commission also approved $2.5 billion government aid to France’s La Poste and $68 million to Hellenic Post of Greece.
The rulings close a five-year investigation into state aid to mail operators that was initially triggered by a complaint by UPS.
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