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2/16/2016 3:50:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Package Delivery Companies Could Face New Challenge From Uber

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Europe's postal companies, already under pressure from Inc., soon could face a challenge from Uber, which is moving into deliveries, and other startups.

UberRUSH — run by Uber but connecting you to a courier rather than a taxi — and new entrants such as PiggyBaggy and Nimber, could dent the market share of operators such as Royal Mail, Deutsche Post and PostNL, equity analysts and investors told Reuters.

They are beginning to factor in a longer-term impact on the stock values of these incumbents, which have been hit by Seattle-based Amazon shifting from customer to competitor by starting its own delivery services in parts of Europe.

They see this as a harbinger of what lies in store for Europe's parcel delivery firms if Uber follows suit.

The UK's Royal Mail has said Amazon's move will more than halve the growth potential for its parcel business — accounting for half of its approximately 9.5 billion pounds ($13.7 billion) revenues — for at least a few years.

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse analysts estimate that if Amazon delivered half of its own parcels in three to five years, it could mean an annual 3% to 5% revenue loss for Deutsche Post arm DHL's parcel business.

The possibility of Uber moving into postal delivery in Europe, as it has done in some U.S. cities, and the emergence of other firms relying on people rather than companies to deliver parcels in a cheaper and faster way, is seen as another drag on Deutsche Post, PostNL and Royal Mail shares, which are down 3% to 20% this year.

"UberRUSH would be another potential competitor trying to take a slice of the pie, which would no doubt put further pressure on companies like Royal Mail when same-day delivery grows in importance," said David Kerstens, European transport and logistics analyst at Jefferies.

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By Atul Prakash

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