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Major milestone for a fresh start: the repayment amount has been determined and is ready for payment

Communication dated 21.09.2018

Under the auspices of the Federal Office of Transport (FOT) and together with the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Public Transport (KöV), the amount to be repaid to the Confederation, the cantons and the municipalities has been determined. PostBus will repay CHF 188.1 million for the period 2007 to 2018 in accordance with these provisions. Swiss Post will deliver on its promise by making the payment quickly and unbureaucratically. PostBus also intends to make a voluntary repayment of CHF 17.2 million for the period prior to 2007. This represents a major step for Swiss Post in redressing the matter and is a fundamental requirement in order to make a fresh start.

FOT’s audit report and the Kellerhals Carrard (KC) enquiry report revealed the extent of the irregular practices at PostBus. It was clear to the Board of Directors of Swiss Post Ltd from the outset that every Swiss franc owed would be repaid to the injured parties. “We wish to redress the damage and make the repayments as quickly and unbureaucratically as possible,” remarked Urs Schwaller, Chairman of the Board of Directors. He therefore expressly welcomes the fact that a solution is now on the table. The FOT and the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Public Transport, together with PostBus, determined that a total of CHF 188.1 million has to be repaid to federal government, the cantons and the municipalities. A framework agreement governing the procedure has been concluded.  This provides for agreements with each of the individual cantons. The agreements must in turn be individually agreed with the cantons. PostBus has the funds ready for payment.

The amount is made up of various items (also see the graphic below). PostBus is repaying a sum of CHF 90.5 million for the period 2007 to 2015. As previously announced in June, total repayments of CHF 16.6 million for irregular reclassifications in local transport and transport on demand are also being made for the same period in addition to  interest totalling CHF 26.8 million. This is governed by the Subsidies Act.

During the period from 2016 to 2018, the holding structure (IMPRESA), introduced on 1 January 2016, resulted in irregular subsidy payments of CHF 54.3 million in total due to inflated transfer prices. This will also be repaid in full to the Confederation and the cantons. The level of the illegitimately claimed compensatory payments shows that too much profit was also systematically generated in the new structure due to an inflated transfer pricing model. The Board of Directors therefore decided on the reversal of IMPRESA after the results of the investigation were presented. In February, the Board of Directors decided against setting an EBIT target for the current year. Swiss Post will repay the profit anticipated for 2018 from the current contracts in accordance with FOT’s stipulations.

The FOT and the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Public Transport have jointly set out all of the figures in detail in a factsheet published today.* 

In addition, PostBus will make a voluntary repayment for the period prior to 2007

The Kellerhals Carrard enquiry report revealed that irregular reclassifications must also have taken place before 2007. In addition to the CHF 188.1 million, PostBus will voluntarily pay a further CHF 17.2 million to customers for illegitimately received subsidies prior to 2007 for the years 2004 to 2006. The situation before 2004 can no longer be conclusively redressed.

The claim would have lapsed under law and no liability to settle it therefore exists from a legal perspective. The management of Swiss Post has nevertheless decided that it will also repay this money. “After everything that has happened, we are not insisting on the application of the statute of limitations but instead wish to assume full responsibility for the damages,” said Urs Schwaller while explaining the reason behind the decision. “Repaying the full amount is part of our pledge and a fundamental requirement in making a fresh start,” added Schwaller. The repayment will be made once the agreements with the cantons have been concluded.

Major milestone achieved – intensive efforts to redress the matter will continue

“We’ve reached a major milestone in finding a solution for the repayments. I would like to thank all parties involved for the transparent and constructive way in which they have dealt with this matter. However, this step does not detract from the fact that much work still lies ahead of us. We owe these efforts to redress the issue to our employees, customers, the politicians and the public,” stated Urs Schwaller.

Swiss Post is continuing to implement the other measures decided on in June 2018 with the same level of commitment.

Derivation of repayment amounts to the Confederation, the cantons and the municipalities

Further links:

*FOT documents (in German)
Swiss Post media blog: interview with Urs Schwaller
Reports on the irregular accounting practices at PostBus

Information:

Léa Wertheimer, Head of Swiss Post Media Unit, presse@swisspost.ch, 058 341 00 00