Philippe Allardin, Belgian Post: interview on postage stamps and Monacophil

Belgian Philately is the theme to MonacoPhil 2009 which starts this Friday 4 December.

Here, Belgian Post Director Phillipe Allardin, talks exclusively with Paul Fraser Collectibles:


1. What is your day-to-day role at Belgium Post?

Within the Belgian Post, I am the Director in charge of Mass markets Marketing.

I also have the responsibility of the Stamps & Philately Division including sales, marketing & the stamp factory.






2. Are you a stamp collector? If so what do you collect?

When I was a child, I started a collection of Belgian stamps but stopped when I was 15.  

When I joined the Belgian Post, 7 years ago, I restarted my collection.

I like stamps because behind those small items, there are stories, anecdotes and because thanks to them I virtually travel around the world and learn of history.

I learned a lot about the arts, the culture, and the history thanks to the stamps. So I am not a traditional collector aiming to collect rarities or exceptional stamps.

Stamps are for me like books: I like them because of their physical appearance but also because of what they represent.


3. How will the liberalisation of Europe's postal market in 2011, affect Belgium Post and their relationship with other postal services in the EU and the rest of the World?

The Belgian Post has spent many years preparing for this very important deadline: performances need to be increased while costs have to be reduced.

All processes are reviewed from the collection of the mail to the mail distribution.

The way the customers are approached has also been reviewed.

A multi-channel sales approach has been implemented: besides the traditional post offices, the post accessibility has been improved through the development of postal points, stamps shops, online channels and call centres.

Despite the good financial results of the 5 last years, we still have a way to go in order to be the best in class.

A high customer satisfaction will be key in a competitive environment.


4.Private equity companies seem to be reshaping the postal landscape, are Governments and postal services able to control this process?

The Belgian Post is a good example of this new competitive landscape.

Indeed as you perhaps know, the private equity company CVC is, within the Post, an important shareholder next to the Belgian state.

There are two important observations about this:

- The regulatory authorities will have a more important role in the future in order to guarantee a fair competition. 

- A management contract between the state and the postal services will guarantee a good public service

5. Also, the UK Government is rumoured to be selling a 30% stake in Royal Mail, but the concern amongst postal workers and the general public is that the service is not seriously affected, especially maintaining the full network coverage within each this the same in Belgium?

The Belgian Post is 49.99% owned by CVC and our performances related to the quality of distribution have improved over the last 7 years.

This means that preparing for liberalisation has helped us to improve ourselves; not only our quality performance, but also our financial results.

Now of course the risk exists that the competition will cherry pick only the profitable parts of the country.

But an important part of our business is already in a competitive market and for the other part, as we are sure we are going to lose market share, our objective will be to limit the loss thanks to a more segmented approach.


6. What are the objectives for Belgium Post to achieve over the next five years?

We will continue our efforts in 2 directions:

-cost control by further adaptation of rounds to changing mail volumes and by further adaptation of the sales network

-revenue growth especially on international mail, financial services and parcels & express

7. How important is "Philately" within the business of Belgium Post?

Philately is important for the Belgian Post not only because it is a profitable business but also because the stamp is the ambassador of the Post and of the country and therefore important for the brand image of our company.


8. How has the Internet affected your business?

The Internet is of course a growing sales & information channel for both Philately and the mail business.

Sales realized via this channel represent already 5 % of our turnover.

We developed new applications like mystamp offering personalized stamps and we will launch in the coming weeks a new site Mycard offering the customer the opportunity to make their own card and to send it via the physical network.

9. What are Belgium Post's aims at the Monte Carlo Show?

The Belgian Post is present at the main philatelic fairs and Monacophil is certainly one of the most prestigious.

Furthermore as Belgian philately is honoured during this fair, we issued a special stamp for the occasion in the frame of the promotion of philately.

The stamp illustrates the very famous "Inversed Termonde" and some interesting Belgian philatelic pieces.


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