Deutsche Post in no rush to sell Postbank

Deutsche Post CEO Frank Appel. (SUPPLIED)

Deutsche Post is in no hurry to reach a decision on a possible sale of its retail banking unit Postbank, CEO Frank Appel said in an interview.

"I don't feel any rush. I will decide according to what is best for Deutsche Post, but also for Postbank," Appel said during a trip to China with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Postbank, Germany's biggest retail bank, is up for sale and its owner has invited expressions of interest. Sources familiar with the matter said that if offers are good enough, Deutsche Post will push ahead with a sale within weeks.

Deutsche Bank has flagged interest in Postbank, as have Allianz and Commerzbank, which are making a joint approach. They would plan to swallow Postbank into a newly created group that would include Allianz's Dresdner Bank.

Asked about the possibilities on the table for Postbank, Appel said: "We are sounding out options and are not participating in any market speculation."

Appel was participating in a three-day trip with Steinmeier to China, where Deutsche Post's delivery arm DHL express is moving to strengthen its foothold in the fast-growing market.

Appel said growth would remain at a strong level. "The growth rate will decrease, but it will remain in the double-digit area... Whether we'll have growth of 20, 30 or 40 per cent is hard to say but we'll be in the double-digit area."

DHL Express, along with rivals FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service, is increasingly focusing on Asia, and China in particular, where rocketing global trade is driving demand for freight and logistics services.

DHL Express currently controls roughly 40 per cent of the international express delivery market in China, analysts say.

"What is being mentioned is't totally wrong," the chief executive said, adding he saw no essential need to expand the company's market share in the crossborder express business.

"But we are working on increasing our market share in other areas, such as storage business and air and sea freight. This is where we want to strengthen our presence," he added.

Appel was confident a $175 million (Dh642m) air hub the company is building in Shanghai will be finished as planned in 2010.