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Watchdog slams Britain over Royal Mail privatisation

Britain failed to achieve value for money for taxpayers when it controversially privatised postal operator Royal Mail last year, the public spending watchdog concluded Tuesday in a damning report. However, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable -- whose Department for Business, Innovation and Skills oversaw the part-privatisation -- defended the deal and refused to apologise. The Conservative-led coalition government sold off more than half of the Royal Mail in October in an initial public offering (IPO) as part of its drive to slash the public deficit.

Royal Mail takes axe to jobs after going private

Royal Mail plans to axe 1,600 jobs under a fresh cost-cutting programme, Britain's main postal operator said on Tuesday six months after its controversial part-privatisation by the government. The company said that most of the jobs to go would be in management, with no delivery staff losing their positions. It added in a statement that it would create "300 new or enhanced roles", resulting in a net loss of 1,300 jobs. Royal Mail is shedding about 1.0 percent of its total workforce.

Royal Mail says to cut 1,600 jobs

Britain's main postal operator Royal Mail on Tuesday said it planned to axe 1,600 jobs under a fresh cost-cutting drive six months after the group was partly privatised. Royal Mail said in a statement that most of the jobs to go would be in management, with no delivery staff losing their positions. It added that it would create "300 new or enhanced roles", resulting in a net loss of 1,300 jobs. The changes are expected to deliver annualised cost savings of around £50 million ($82.5 million, 60 million euros), it said.

Canadians protest loss of door-to-door mail delivery

Mail carriers and the elderly have come out strongly against the phasing out of door-to-door mail delivery in Canada since it was announced in December, holding protests and -- suitably -- writing letters. The union representing Canada Post workers said the Crown corporation should have looked at diversifying its services in order to boost revenues, instead of making cuts. The elderly and Canadians living with disabilities or mobility issues, meanwhile, say they will be disproportionately affected by the change, and have received backing from opposition parties.

UK'S Ofcom investigating TNT Post complaint against Royal Mail

(Reuters) - Britain's Office of Communications (Ofcom) is investigating a complaint by the country's second-largest postal firm, TNT Post UK, against price increases planned by Royal Mail Plc for its wholesale mail contracts. Royal Mail said in January that it would increase tariffs on the contracts, used by 31 of its biggest wholesale customers, because of a decline in letter volumes. (http://link.reuters.com/zuw96v)

Royal Mail says first-half profits jump

Britain's part-privatised postal operator Royal Mail on Wednesday unveiled soaring first-half profits, boosted by cost-cutting and rising revenues from parcels. In the first results since its controversial privatisation, Royal Mail said pretax profit excluding exceptional items jumped to £233 million ($278 million, 278 million euros) in the six months to September, from £94 million a year earlier. The company added that pretax profits, including a huge one-off windfall linked to pensions reform, leapt to £1.58 billion from £113 million a year earlier.

UK lawmakers launch Royal Mail inquiry as share rise continues

By Kylie MacLellan and William James LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in Britain's Royal Mail peaked 48 percent above their privatization price on Tuesday as a committee of lawmakers said it planned to summon bankers and the business minister to a parliamentary inquiry into the sale. The government, which last week priced the hugely oversubscribed sale of the near 500-year-old postal service at 330 pence per share, has been accused of undervaluing one of Britain's biggest state sell-offs for decades.

Royal Mail shares priced at 330 pence in oversubscribed sale

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is selling a majority stake in Royal Mail at 330 pence a share following massive investor interest that values the postal service company at 3.3 billion pounds ($5.26 billion). In one of Britain's biggest privatizations for decades, Royal Mail on Thursday priced its London listing at the top of a 260 pence to 330 pence range in a sell-off which will flush around 2 billion pounds into government coffers.

UK's Cable says Labour 'irresponsible' to talk up Royal Mail value

By William James LONDON (Reuters) - British Business Secretary Vince Cable accused the opposition Labour party of irresponsibly talking up the value of shares in the Royal Mail postal service, a day before order books close on Britain's biggest privatisation in decades. Despite the threat of strike action from delivery staff and criticism from opposition lawmakers, the government is close to completing the sale of a majority stake in the 497-year-old Royal Mail, known worldwide for its iconic red postboxes.

Britain kicks off Royal Mail sale with $5.3 billion price tag

By Kylie MacLellan LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Royal Mail postal service should a command a value of as much as 3.3 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) when it makes its London stock market debut next month, the government said on Friday as it began taking orders for the selloff.
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