Nov 27 - Royal Mail has seen its half-year profits rise, thanks to growing revenue from its parcel business, in its first set of results since its shares were listed on London's stock market. Hayley Platt reports.
ATTN CLIENTS - NEW VERSION WITH ADDED COMMENT 283 million pounds is today's daily digit - the rise in half year profits at Royal Mail. The newly-privatised postal operator almost doubled last year figures, thanks to strong sales from its parcel business and a series of cost cuts. Last month the government controverisally sold off a 60% percent stake in the world's oldest postal service in order to raise money for modernisation. Its shares soared by up to 80 percent after the floatation. And many - including unions at Royal Mail - said the 330 pence offer price was far too low. The results will no doubt add weight to that argument although Robert Cole from ReutersBreakingViews isn't convinced. (SOUNDBITE) (English): ROBERT COLE, ASSITANT EDITOR, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS, SAYING: "This is a company which is very constrained. It has a very slow growth rate - half of its business in letters is shrinking, the other half is parcels which might be growing but is also getting more competitive with commerical rivals. At the same time it has a cost base which is in a highly unionised workforce. The threat to this company is palpable." The Minister in charge of the privatisation was due to answer questions from MPs on Wednesday about the sale. Shares were trading at more than 530 pence after the results were announced. Investors can expect to share a full-year dividend of 133 million pounds.