There is no question that a country’s postal service is a valuable national asset. On one hand, it is a functional asset that supports commerce and binds the nation together. On the other, postal operations are capital assets, with distribution networks, vehicles, machinery, and labor resources that have some sort of value.

While the value of binding the nation together is difficult to put into monetary terms, the value of capital assets is easier to assess. In fact, some cash-strapped governments around the world are trying to raise money by selling parts of their postal operations. The most prominent example is Greece, who announced in June that it plans to sell 39 percent of the national postal service, Hellenic Post.

[poll id="126"]
[poll id="127"]

[poll id="128"]
[poll id="129"]

Greece’s troubled financial condition sent shockwaves through world markets in February. Greece plans to sell off part of Hellenic Post as a condition of the financial rescue package provided by other European Union (EU) members and the International Monetary Fund totaling €110 billion ($142 billion). The plan calls for Greece to raise at least €1 billion ($1.29 billion) per year for the next three years by selling off state-owned services including the national rail line and various utilities.

Despite this partial privatization, the Greek government will still control 51 percent of Hellenic Post. Hellenic Postbank holds the remaining 10 percent. It will also remain the dominant company in the Greek postal market as EU regulators put off fully opening Greece to postal competition until 2013. This special regulation is because Hellenic Post must serve a large number of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, making its universal service obligation far more expensive than most other areas of Europe. This also makes the Greek situation unique.

As the financial crisis that began in 2007 drags on into its third year, governments are trying to find ways to finance or pay off mounting deficits. One solution embraced by some, currently including Greece, UK, and Russia, is to leverage the value of national assets, particularly postal services. The question that remains is whether accepting money in the short term will harm the long-term value of national posts when it comes to promoting commerce and national unity.

This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

Comments (8)

  • anon

    The difference is that in Greece they had no option but to sell part of the Hellenic Post. Anyway, as a person living in Europe I must admit that I never had a problem with USPS, never lost anything in the mail or experience any similar situations, delivery times are good too.

    Jan 20, 2012
  • anon

    People love to complain and make jokes about the USPS and they could stand to improve many things. But the truth is they provide and excellent service at a relatively low cost. When we drop our mail into one of those blue boxes 99.99% of the time, it will arrive at it's intended address in a few days.

    Sep 21, 2010
  • anon
    Get Rid of the ...

    The Potter Business Plan did not work. All it did was create a bunch of $200K executives positions, but not employees to give customer service. No wonder customers complain the no body answers the phone. They are right. There is no one to answer the phone. There are a minimum of clerks to work mail in the morning, minimum carriers to deliver the mail plus take other routes to deliver, minimum clerks for the window counter and a minimum amount of supervisors to complete all the mandated "PROCESSES" the the $200K executives have created. The USPS is about DATA. There is no service or humanity. All the upper leadership promote sheep people, that will cut down every one in there path, except for the girlfriends/boyfriends that they are promoting. That's right, this is what is happening. Upper Management is running ramped with POWER. An nobody is doing anything about it. Not the OIG, not the Postal Inspection, not Congress. Numbers are manipulated to make goals and then those people get a promotion. It a joke. If you are honest and have integrity with your numbers you get demoted. But is anybody checking to make sure this is not happening. Of course not, because the cheaters and liars are also given better budgets and more people, resources to make sure they look good. Every one else is just given enough to fail. Everyone knows this is happening. Thats why we are not allowed to see other offices data. We would be able to collect the evidence against all the cheaters and liars, (which are the upper leaderships boyfriends and girlfriends.

    Sep 12, 2010
  • anon
    Test RX 360

    all the time i used to read smaller articles or reviews that as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this post which I am reading now.

    Sep 03, 2013
  • anon

    11218 Post Office needs to be shut down or they need to get new staff there. They pick up the phone, hang up on. Call them 1 time or 100 times, they will never pickup on you. If they do, they will hang up or leave you in an hour + hold and then hang up on you. Worst customer services ever. UPS/FEDEX here i come (Oh, and did i tell you 6 windows and only 1 is barely working?) Better of paying a little more and being treated like a human.

    Sep 09, 2010
  • anon

    People make fun of and complain about the USPS but it is still amazing and important. This issue is challenging and complex with no easy fix. Hang in there, you are a huge National Asset!

    Aug 26, 2010
  • anon

    The US Postal Service is only as strong as it's policing authorities. If the OIG and USPSIS don't step up to the plate and become cops instead of missionaries, we may as well sell off. If the OIG and USPSIS do start weeding out the corrupt from top to bottom, we will be around as long as our great nation... which needs to do the same.

    Aug 16, 2010
  • anon

    Networks are usually worth more than the sum of their parts. Breaking a network into parts may destroy forever its ability to reach efficiently and economically every origin and destination. This is different from opening the network to outside, private investors and managers from the private sector who may be in a better position to implement the operational and business reforms required to bring the network back to life...

    Aug 16, 2010

Share this post

Recent Comments

Monthly Archive