D. Post Among Royal Mail Bidders

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Deutsche Post (DPWGn.DE), Europe’s biggest mail company, is bidding for a stake in British state-owned postal company Royal Mail along with Dutch TNT (TNT.AS) and private equity firm CVC, a German weekly reported.

A team of twelve Deutsche Post managers, headed by finance chief John Allan, had met with the advisory board of Royal Mail, Welt am Sonntag reported without citing sources in a preview of a story to be published on Sunday.

Deutsche Post declined to comment.

According to the paper, Deutsche Post, TNT and CVC had begun the last round of bidding. It said the price for the stake was estimated to be at least 3 billion euros.

The British government wants to partly privatise its postal operator in order for it to remain commercially viable.

Dutch TNT said in December that its interest in a stake in Royal Mail hinged on the full implementation of reform proposals, including changes to regulation and the government paying off much of Royal Mail’s company pension liabilities.

British business minister Peter Mandelson paved the way for the sale of up to 30 percent of the state-owned postal services firm in February in return for the government guaranteeing a universal service and taking over the company’s 8 billion pound ($11.73 billion) pension deficit.

The government aims to sign a deal with a partner by this summer.

The Sunday Telegraph reported last month that Belgian postal group De Post-La Post was also interested, along with companies in Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

(Reporting by Nicola Leske)