Royal Mail takes step towards privatisation

LONDON Thu May 16, 2013 7:49pm BST

Sorted packages are seen at the Royal Mail Mount Pleasant Sorting Office in London May 10, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Sorted packages are seen at the Royal Mail Mount Pleasant Sorting Office in London May 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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LONDON (Reuters) - The Royal Mail moved a step closer to privatisation on Thursday after the appointment of a firm to set up an employee share scheme, one of the pre-conditions for a sale.

Under the 2011 Postal Services Act, which paves the way for privatisation, some 10 per cent of shares in Royal Mail will be set aside for the employees of the company.

Equiniti was appointed on Thursday to set up an employee share scheme according to the Royal Mail.

An initial public offering of the group, which has around 150,000 staff and sales of 9.5 billion pounds, is expected to take place later this year, with British media reports valuing the group between two and three billion pounds.

The Royal Mail said on Thursday that all options regarding the timing and details of the sell-off remained open, but the government remained determined to privatise the company this financial year.

The Communications Workers Union, which represents about 120,000 Royal mail workers, opposes the privatisation plan.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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