A potential merger between postal service PostNL and main competitor Sandd has been broadly supported by MPs in a debate on the future of the postal sector on Wednesday, the Financieele Dagblad reports.
The merger is widely seen as the only way of maintaining a good quality postal service and ending the steady paring down of pay and conditions in the postal sector in the face of a dwindling market.
The merger, which PostNL and Sandd have been contemplating for some time, would have to be passed by fair competition watchdog ACM. A positive decision could be in doubt because the two companies together would have a market share of 90% which would come down to a monopoly position, the FD writes. The Dutch postal market was liberalised in 2007.
A way around the ACM would be to use article 47 of the competition law which would allow a merger and many parties, PVV, SP and Labour among them, showed themselves in favour of such a strategy. Junior minister Mona Keijzer also has the legal right to ignore a negative ACM decision and she was urged by MPs not to hesitate to use it.
‘The margins in the postal market and the position of the workers are under tremendous pressure. There can be only one solution and that is a merger,’ FD quotes Labour MP William Moorlag as saying.
Coalition parties D66 and VVD did not want to dismiss an ACM decision out of hand and said a merger should not be forced by politicians.
PostNL had been looking to buy Sandd as early as 2015 for between €100m and €150m but did not go through with it because it feared politicians would put the brakes on.
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