Bid for Hays mail and parcel unit

Bid for Hays mail and parcel unit

A bid of more than $500 million for the mail and parcel delivery unit of British-based Hays group could signal another round of consolidation for the European express market.

The former managing director of Hays's express and mail unit, Neil Tregarthen, is understood to have made an offer valued at up to ?300 million ($525 million), or $85 million higher than analysts' valuation.

The mail and express division is expected to attract wide interest as it is one of the few private delivery companies with regulatory approval to deliver business mail and offer other specialist services such as premium delivery and mail tracking in competition with the Britain's postal service. Germany's Deutsche Post World Net, and TPG of the Netherlands have been mentioned as possible bidders.

Hays, which has said it plans to focus on its core personal services operation, in November sold the bulk of its logistics unit to Platinum Equity, a Los Angeles-based venture capitalist group, for around $180 million.

Hays is not commenting on published reports that Tregarthen is being backed by a private investor group and has lined up other financing from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Credit Agricole Indosuez, the French bank.

-- Bruce Barnard in London