Share shops attract only a third of BT listings

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ONLY a third of those registering for the first time for shares in BT have so far chosen to use share shops.

Promoting the use of share shops - of which there are thousands in high streets throughout Britain - is one of the Government's main drives in the planned pounds 5bn sale of its remaining stake in BT.

More than 1 million people had registered for shares in BT by last Friday, including 730,000 who took the normal route of going to the Share Information Office. This is despite preferential treatment for people who use shops in allocating shares should demand be heavy. A government adviser said no comparable figures were available from previous BT sales.

Share shops are operated by approved organisations including banks, building societies and stockbrokers. The aim is to promote wider share ownership in other companies as well as BT.

A further 2.4 million people - existing BT shareholders and employees - have been automatically registered for the sale.

Details of incentives for private shareholders will be announced on Monday along with the size of the first instalment for shares.

The total price, payable in three instalments, will not be known until just before the sale in mid-July, and will be set by bidding from institutions wanting shares. Private investors will be offered a discount to the institutional price.

Hamish McRae, page 31