Thursday 22 March 2018

UK to sell majority stake in Royal Mail

Robert Hutton

The UK government will sell a majority stake in its postal service Royal Mail Group through an initial public offering before the end of March, its Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

It will effectively privatise the 360-year-old state postal service.

"We will retain flexibility around the size of the stake to be sold," Mr Cable told Parliament in London yesterday.

"This will be influenced by market conditions, investor demand and our objective to ensure overall value for money for the taxpayer. It is our intention to dispose of a majority stake, taking into account shares sold and those allocated to employees."

Employees will receive 10pc of the shares for free, on the condition they hold them for three years, Mr Cable said.

Shares will be offered to retail investors on the same terms as institutional buyers.

The sale will be the largest privatisation in Britain since the then prime minister, John Major, broke up the country's railway in the 1990s.

Royal Mail, one of the UK's biggest employers with about 159,000 staff, has sought to adapt its letter-focused network to more lucrative shipping of packages. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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