ROYAL Mail yesterday fuelled government hopes of delivering the firm into private sector hands next year after posting a jump in profits on the back of the boom in online shopping.
The group, which is 100 per cent owned by the taxpayer, posted operating profits of £144m for the six months ending 23 September this year versus £12m for the previous year.
The turnaround was led by a surge in profits at its UK Parcels, International and Letters business, which has seen a huge pickup in demand from online retailers like Amazon and Asos to deliver their goods to customers.
Profits in the business leapt to £99m compared to a £41m loss a year earlier, driven by a two per cent rise in revenues from letters and 13 per cent revenue rise from parcels.
This was despite a nine per cent decline in letter volumes. The group said stamp price rises in April had helped offset the decline in traditional letter volumes.
“The company is being fuelled by the boom in e-commerce but we are also fuelling the boom in e-commerce,” its chief exec Moya Greene said.
The group is due to be privatised after politicians voted last year to raise private capital in the business to help modernise its technology.
The decision to privatise the firm lies with the Shareholder Executive, which sits inside the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
All options are said be on the table, which could include a float or acquisition from a listed company later next year.
BIS minister Michael Fallon said yesterday: “The structure and timing remain open, but government is committed to doing that to ensure the ongoing viability of the company.”