Consignia plans to raise £1.8bn by selling property portfolio

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The Independent Online

The troubled postal group has held informal discussions with quoted property company Land Securities and the George Soros-backed property investment group Mapeley.

Consignia is understood to be impressed with BT's £2.4bn property sale to Land Securities that completed last year, but a final decision over whether to follow suit is still months away. Consignia is putting the finishing touches to a plan to strip more than £1bn from its cost base. The state-owned company will unveil its strategy before Easter, which is expected to lead to significant redundancies and changes to the way post is delivered.

As the owner of Royal Mail and the Post Office, Consignia is at loggerheads with the regulator Postcomm over plans to introduce competition into the market. Consignia says the market is being deregulated too quickly, threatening its ability to maintain a universal postal service.

Over the next fortnight, the Government will interview potential candidates for the £100,000-a-year Consignia chairman post.

In January, Allan Leighton was appointed as interim chairman. It is understood that ministers have encouraged the former Asda chief to apply for the job on a permanent basis.

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