The government of the United Kingdom is mulling accelerating the privatization of Royal Mail to as early as 2013 in what would be the biggest sale of state assets since the railways were sold to private investors in the 1990s.
A flotation of the state-owned mail company on the London Stock Exchange is thought likely to raise up to $4 billion depending on market conditions.
The government is considering the sale of a minority stake in Royal Mail ahead of its initial public offering. It also plans to give Royal Mail’s 150,000 employees at least 10 percent of the privatized company.
“We are committed to injecting private capital into Royal Mail to help ensure the ongoing viability of the company. Momentum will continue to as we put all of the building blocks into place,” business minister Michael Fallon told lawmakers.
Royal Mail recently appointed the UK’s Barclays Bank as its adviser and hired Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America to pitch the company to investors.
The privatization timetable was accelerated after Royal Mail’s operating profit soared to £144 million ($233 million) in the six months to the end of September from £12 million ($19.5 million) a year ago, boosted by a surge in parcel deliveries as consumers increasingly shop online.
GLS, the pan-European express unit, booked a $71 million profit, down 8 percent from a year ago, because of weakening markets, particularly in France, on revenue of $1.1 billion.