We have made excellent preparations for increasing mail competition. In addition to our high quality standard and our highly efficient network with state-of-the-art mail centers, we will establish ourselves as a provider of solutions and value-added services for our customers and continue to internationalize our business. We intend to strengthen our presence above all in Europe, North America and Asia – depending in each case on the regulatory environment in the national postal markets.
We are integrating and modernizing our transport networks for the express market. This results in economies of scale and higher-quality services at lower costs. In 2005, we introduced additional measures to strengthen the business in the United States. The construction of a new European hub in Leipzig, where operations are to commence in 2008, is expected to bring a further improvement in the global infrastructure.
In logistics, we are now the market leader in the intercontinental freight business and in contract logistics, following the acquisition of Exel. We would like to keep this leadership position: more than ever, we will be able to offer our customers tailored, one-stop logistics solutions and also to attract top people in our industry as a desirable employer.
As a result of the acquisition of a majority holding in BHW, Postbank is now the leading provider of finance for owner-occupied residential property in Germany. Postbank is outstandingly well placed to achieve further growth in the retail investment funds and life insurance segments. Our objective will be to consolidate and further develop this excellent market position. Postbank is also strengthening its sales capacity with the acquisition of 850 retail outlets from Deutsche Post AG.
There are substantial opportunities for our future development, not just for the individual corporate divisions but for the Group as a whole, arising above all from the optimal organization of the structure and workflows of the Services Department.
In information technology, we are endeavoring to optimize the infrastructure, improve work processes and further reduce costs whilst maintaining our high quality standards.