Royal Mail share sale oversubscribed as 700,000 apply

MORE than 700,000 individual investors have applied for shares in Royal Mail, Vince Cable announced yesterday, making the sale one of the most popular privatisations in British history.

The Lib Dem business secretary also confirmed that the retail offer is seven-times oversubscribed, making it highly unlikely that would-be investors will receive their full allocation of shares.

Just a fifth of Royal Mail’s shares have been set aside for individuals, with a further 40 per cent going to City institutions. But demand from the public has been so high that orders from individual investors are enough to buy the company outright.

The institutional allocation is thought to be even more oversubscribed, with allocations set to be announced tomorrow when conditional trading begins on the London Stock Exchange.

Cable said he is attempting to ensure the institutional order book is “dominated by responsible long-term institutional investors” such as pension funds, as opposed to speculators.

Shares are expected to price at 330p, valuing the company at £3.3bn.

Meanwhile, Royal Mail yesterday said that future job losses are inevitable.

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