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In 2019, the publicly listed Dutch postal service provider PostNL divested its entire German operations and sold, as part of a corporate carve-out, 100% of its shares in Postcon Group to Quantum Group. Active in mail collection, sorting, logistics and delivery, the Postcon Group, headquartered in Ratingen, was Germany's second-largest mail service provider after Deutsche Post at that time.
During the more than 15-year long involvement of PostNL in the German mail market, the Dutch group had not succeeded in making the German business operations sustainably profitable. This circumstance, together with the decision to focus on the BeNeLux countries in the future, ultimately led to the company's withdrawal from the German market and thus to the sale of the Postcon Group.
Quantum identified growth and value enhancement potential for the group, which at the time of acquisition consisted of eight operating companies and employed around 3,500 people at 18 main sites and more than 100 mail depots across Germany. As part of a restructuring process supported by Quantum, the corporate structure of the Postcon Group was entirely disentangled and reorganized. After identifying four core business areas, these were transferred to independent, medium-sized stand-alone companies. Through this procedure, all inefficient group processes were eliminated and the previously overly complex group structures were significantly simplified.
Subsequent to the restructuring and establishment of the four stand-alone companies, the Postcon Group could, on the one hand, be managed much more dynamically and efficiently and, on the other hand, realize considerable cost reduction potential.
- Situation before the acquisition: inefficient corporate structure with eight operating companies and significant losses at group level
- Key measures after acquisition: reorganization of the group into a small number of independent companies, focused on the respective core business areas
- Situation upon sale: Significant improvement in efficiency and profitability of the individual businesses. Sale of the four stand-alone companies in four independent sales processes
Solution: measures after acquisition
In the course of the transaction ("asset deal"), the existing group structure was disentangled and four new companies were established for the respective core business areas:
- PIN Mail AG – Last mile delivery in Berlin
- Postcon NRW GmbH – Last mile delivery in North Rhine-Westphalia
- Postcon National GmbH – B2B full postal service provider for large customers
- Postcon Konsolidierungs GmbH – Mail consolidation (partial service discounts)
Immediately after the acquisition, Quantum found – in a consortium led by Dieter von Holtzbrinck Vermögensbeteiligung – a suitable strategic buyer for PIN Mail AG, the profitable last mile business in Berlin that had been well-established for many years. Subsequently, the main focus was on the realignment and further development of the three remaining Postcon core companies. In order to successfully transform the companies and position them sustainably in the market, following measures were taken:
- Placement of a PE-experienced restructuring and industry expert as interim managing director at group level to lead the restructuring and coordinate the strategic realignment
- Implementation of vertical organizational structures and managing directors with full responsibility for the respective company
- Complete removal of the horizontal organizational and management structures (group- "sales," "operations," "HR," "IT," "finance," etc.)
- Elimination of corporate departments, which typically do not exist in medium-sized companies, such as "legal", "PR" and association work
- Establishment of independent sales organizations for each of the three companies, as well as independent finance and controlling departments
- Carve-out from former PostNL group IT and thus introduction of three independent, modern, cloud-based IT systems, associated with significant cost savings
- Reorganization of Postcon NRW through a comprehensive restructuring program, including efficiency improvements in delivery, streamlining of all processes and acquisition of new strategic partners
- Repositioning of the key account business at Postcon National, including concentration on a large, modern sorting center and closure of smaller, less efficient sites
- "Revitalization" of the consolidation business ("partial service discounts") in Postcon Konsolidierungs GmbH as an independent unit combined with investments in state-of-the-art sorting machine technology and IT
Completion of realignment within the envisaged timeframe
Of the 19 sub-projects that were launched as part of the restructuring at the beginning of 2020 and controlled under professional project and program management, 18 sub-projects for the realignment of the Postcon Group were successfully completed in June 2020 – eight months after the takeover by Quantum. Target structures of the three independent Postcon companies were finalized and processes such as sales management, accounting, controlling, HR, customer and quality management were established independently and on a solid foundation in the respective companies.
Low-cost, professional specialist and solution provider for business mail
As specialists for business mail, the companies of Germany's second-largest mail service provider reliably ensured the cost-effective delivery of over one billion mail items per year – from business letters, catalogs and mailings to mailbox-ready merchandise shipments. Business customers, print service providers and the public sector benefited from a high level of expertise, end-to-end solutions and tailor-made, attractively priced products.
Situation upon sale
All three companies of the Postcon Group significantly improved their competitiveness within the first year after acquisition as a result of the above-mentioned measures:
- Positioning in the market as stand-alone, medium-sized companies
- Efficiency gains through focus on core business areas
- Significant increase in profitability of all stand-alone businesses
In December 2020, Quantum sold 100% of Postcon National (today "dvs - Deutscher Versand Service") to the Frankfurt-based investment company Tempus Capital, which also acquired 100% of Postcon NRW in July 2021. In November 2021, Quantum sold the last Postcon company, Postcon Konsolidierungs GmbH, in full to a private investor group.
After approximately two years, following successful and sustainable restructuring combined with the elimination of complex group structures and repositioning in independent core business areas, the takeover by Quantum resulted in four exits, each one to the benefit of all stakeholders.