Royal Mail's share price pushed the FTSE down this morning as the government revealed it had sold off its last 13 per cent stake in the business, with the remaining one per cent being gifted to eligible staff.
The final tranche of shares was sold for 455p per share, taking the total raised from the sale to £591.1m.
Before the open, Royal Mail's share price stood at 471p per share but by pixel time it had fallen 4.3 per cent to 451p per share, making it the second-biggest loser on the FTSE 100 this morning after Glencore.
In total, employees now own 12 per cent of the company.
Business secretary Sajid Javid said it was "a truly historic day" for Royal Mail.
"We have delivered on our promise to sell the Government’s entire remaining stake, which means that for the very first time the company is now wholly owned by its employees and private investors. This is the right step for the Royal Mail, its customers and the taxpayer.
“Proceeds will also go to help pay off the national debt – a crucial part of our long term plan to provide economic security for working people.”
Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne added: "By fully leaving state ownership we have a win all round - for customers, the workforce and the taxpayer. And every penny will be used to pay down our national debt as we continue to bring our public finances under control.
"Once again, we are also going to recognise the hard work of the staff who have done a great job in turning the company around, and give them a one per cent stake to share between them."