Estonia’s Omniva to be privatised

The Estonian government has indicated that the postal operator Eesti Post (Omniva) will be partially privatised, though there is no fixed timetable for this happening.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Kristen Michal said of the privatisation, “We have two aspects here that we would like to draw attention to. One aspect is how the state offers a universal postal service, which is regulated by legislation; however, the package delivery business is not the state’s core function, at least in my personal opinion.”

The government is looking at how the parcel delivery business could be partially privatised, and the Economics Minister indicated that it might be achieved through either an offering on the stock exchange or by finding a partner company to buy a stake in the business.

“Several weeks ago the government gave their mandate so that we could review the package delivery business of Omniva,” said Michal.

In a statement, Omniva said, ”The final decision-making has been suspended due to the legislative intent to prepare a new Estonian Postal Act.”

The Omniva statement added: “Although the decision to privatise the postal company might be made this year, Michal foresees that this idea will be implemented in a few years.

“However, he also said that the situation with the privatisation of Eesti Post might clear up already within several months.”

Speaking of the prospect of future privatisation, Aavo Kärmas, Chairman of the Management Board of Eesti Post, said, “In Europe, an increasing number of postal companies are privatised – there are minor and major shareholdings, and also companies that are completely privatised.

“Even when a company is privatised, it does not mean in any way that the universal postal service should take a hit.”

If this is carried out it would be following in the steps of a number of larger countries that have privatised their own postal operations. It remains to be seen as to what happens here and whether the privatisation will be successful.