Investors fight to sell shares in postal giant

SHARES in Royal Mail yesterday closed at a new high of 489p each – but thousands of private investors were left fuming after a government-appointed share-dealing service struggled to cope with demand to offload the stock.

Investors who bought shares through the government’s website had to wait until yesterday’s official stock exchange listing before they could cash in on Royal Mail’s 48 per cent share price rise.

But shareholders reported severe difficulties when trying to phone official share dealer Equinti, while others said they had not been emailed the reference numbers required to sell their stake. Around half the 690,000 private investors bought shares through the official website. The remainder were sold through third party brokers who have allowed dealing since last Friday.

“Can’t sell Royal Mail shares as Equinti cannot cope with demand,” complained one investor who had been trying to sell their stock. “Phones jammed all day. Not amused!”

Others investors complained that even the automated phone service and website were inaccessible.

Shareholders who chose to receive paper certificates face an even longer wait, with the paper deeds containing the 11-digit share certificate number due to arrive in the post next Monday.

Members of the public who bid for over £750 of shares through the official website will also have to wait until next week for their balance to be refunded.