22 Nov 2011

Royal Mail profit up

8:07 am on 22 November 2011

Britain's Royal Mail has reported rising profits, despite losses in its core business of delivering letters.

Pre-tax profits for the six months to 25 September were £187 million, up from £50 million for the same period last year.

Royal Mail made an exceptional gain of £190 million from property sales, much of which was from the sale of a depot in London.

The organisation has cut the number of people it employs in Britain by 5000 in the past 12 months. The workforce now numbers 163,000, which is about 50,000 fewer than 10 years ago.

Royal Mail's operating profit was £67 million, up from £22 million in the same period last year.

The BBC reports this included an operating loss of £41 million from the letters and parcels division, which was an improvement on last year's loss of £55 million.

The business is handling 6% fewer letters than at the same time last year and predicts further declines.

The losses were despite a record increase in stamp prices in April.

However, its parcels service made £58 million and the Post Office made £55 million.