United Parcel Services Inc. and TNT Express NV are preparing a formal merger notification and haven’t made any offers to European Union antitrust authorities to divest TNT Benelux or German units.
“Such commitments have not been asked by the European Commission, nor were they offered by UPS or TNT,” the Atlanta-based company said in a statement yesterday, responding to a media report. “The Commission is expected to issue a decision in the third quarter of this year.”
UPS, the world’s biggest package-delivery company, announced in March that it would buy TNT Express for $6.8 billion to expand in Europe. Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn at the time said he was “confident” the deal would receive regulatory approval by the end of the third quarter, adding that it was too early to say what divestitures may be needed to satisfy concerns.
Yesterday, Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported, citing unidentified people, that UPS was considering shedding TNT’s German and Benelux express services to overcome possible EU objections to its takeover of the Dutch company. That could cost thousands of jobs in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, the paper said.
“This would be very concerning,” Egon Groen, an official at the FNV Bondgenoten labor union, said by telephone. “UPS and TNT should give clarity as soon as possible on whether they are considering to divest parts of Express in the Benelux to comply with EU competition rules.”
Ernst Moeksis, a spokesman for Hoofddorp, Netherlands-based TNT Express, said he was unable to comment on the report as “this is a question for UPS.”
“Apparently UPS and TNT are talking to the European Commission,” Groen said. “TNT’s employees have a right to know how that is going.”