Friday, January 25, 2008

DHL: U.S. Withdrawal 'Completely Ruled Out'

Deutsche Post World Net said Friday it is not withdrawing from the United States express market but the company refused to comment on reports that it is in talks to sell part of the DHL Americas business to FedEx.

The DHL parent released a statement from Chief Financial Officer John Allan saying "there can be no question of exiting the U.S. business. Any options which include a withdrawal can be completely ruled out."

Allan made the statement after the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland published a story citing an unnamed source that DPWN is in talks with FedEx to sell assets in the United States to FedEx.

DHL has piled up billions of dollars in losses in the United States over five years in its bid to mount a competitive challenge to FedEx and UPS in the world's largest express parcel market. Analysts are projecting the company will lose $900 million in North America this year and several prominent investment houses recently called for DHL to withdraw from the market.

Allan said in his statement the company will "retain a significant presence" in the United States but that it also must "reduce the level of operating losses." Allan said there are "a large number of ways in which we can achieve that."

But Allan said the company would not comment on what he called the "speculation" on DHL's plans.

The newspaper report quotes a manager within the company as saying that Deutsche Post CEO Klaus Zumwinkel "wants to leave the company in a clean condition" when he retires in November.

The report follows DPWN's announcement this week that it will take an $874 million writedown of the company's assets in the United States. The action on the balance would effectively lower the price for the business in a potential sale, financial analysts said.

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