10 Oct 2013

Privatisation of Royal Mail wildly popular

10:20 am on 10 October 2013

In Britain the biggest privatisation in decades has captured the imagination of the public, with 700,000 individuals applying for seven times the number of Royal Mail shares on offer to private investors.

Despite a threat of strike action by delivery staff and criticism from the opposition Labour party, the government is close to completing the controversial disposal of a majority stake in the company, which is almost 500 years old.

According to Reuters, Order books closed on Tuesday, with the sell-off expected to value the firm at nearly $NZ6.4 billion - the top of the government's target price range.

The flotation is one of Britain's most significant since the late 1980s and 90s, when British Gas and other state industries such as the railways were sold off.