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Subsidies scandal Swiss Post Bus company invested heavily in France and lost millions

A picture of a CarPostalbus

French bus company owners regard the payments from Switzerland to CarPostal as illegal government subsidies by the Swiss Post. 

(SRF-SWI)

The Post has been operating its French subsidiary, CarPostal France at a huge financial loss, reported Swiss public television, SRF, on Monday. The company is also accused of having used a price dumping policy to unfairly increase its market share in France.

According to an investigative report by SRF’s economics news bulletin “Eco”, CarPostal accumulated an operating loss of €1.8 million (CHF2.1 million) over the period between 2007 and 2016. The Swiss Post propped its French branch up financially by increasing its capital by €18 million and by waiving debts of €19 million. As a result, the Swiss Post, the legal owner of CarPostal France is now owed a total of €44 million by the latter, reported SRF.

SRF reported that this fact was a relatively strong indication that a part of the “millions of francs in profit the Post acquired illegally in Switzerland were funnelled to France” via this subsidiary.

French bus company owners regard the payments from Switzerland as illegal government subsidies by the Swiss Post. CarPostal was only able to win the bus route contracts advertised by the French public authorities by using price dumping, they say. These dumping offers were sometimes 30 percent below cost price, they said.

For this reason, several French bus company owners sued CarPostal for unfair competition and won their case in the Lyon Commercial court, reported SRF. CarPostal was ordered to pay €11million in compensation money; the company’s appeal against this decision is still pending.

Swiss Post were not available for comment to SRF. Both the Swiss Federal Office of Transport as well as the Swiss Federal Audit Office will review the public limited company’s activities and investments abroad.

SRF/swissinfo.ch/ln

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