Whistl poised for MBO

Richard Stuart-Turner
Thursday, July 30, 2015

The main conditions of a management buyout (MBO) of Whistl have been provisionally agreed between its managers and owner PostNL, following an review of PostNL's UK activities

The firms concluded that it was crucial to create clear guidance for the relevant Whistl stakeholders about its future strategic direction after the suspension and subsequent conclusion of Whistl’s end-to-end (E2E) delivery service.

The Whistl management team will take a controlling stake in the company with Dutch delivery firm PostNL retaining a 17.5% minority shareholding.

PostNL and Whistl said they are working hard to get the final detail of the deal concluded as quickly as possible.

The finalisation is subject to a number of conditions, including the financing of the MBO. Whistl said it was too early to comment on the specific financial details until an agreement has been reached.

Whistl said the transaction will enable it to develop its current profitable activities and strengthen its position in the UK postal market. It added that its focus will be on its core divisions: downstream access (DSA), door-drop media, packets and parcels, and logistics.

Whistl chief executive Nick Wells said: “Through a management led company, Whistl will continue to build upon its entrepreneurial heritage.

“We will continue to challenge, innovate and provide great service to customers, whilst retaining the support of PostNL.”

The transaction, which is expected to close later this year, is expected to negatively impact PostNL’s consolidated equity by between €20m (£14m) and €25m.

PostNL began to review its operations in the UK, Germany and Italy in May after experiencing a sharp fall in Q1 operating income.

Whistl, which has been a wholly owned subsidiary of PostNL since 2011, was previously called TNT Post UK prior to a rebrand in September 2014. It had been a subsidiary of TNT Group until 2011.

The company, the UK’s second largest postal operator, has around 1,500 employees and a turnover of £625m. It has UK depots in Leeds, Warrington, Bristol, Iver, Rugby, Coatbridge and Newtownabbey while its head office is in Marlow.

Earlier this month Whistl revealed that it had secured a number of new contracts that would strengthen its letter collection and DSA division. The DSA business has over 56% market share in the UK, handling around 3.8bn items of mail per year.

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