View from City Road: Post Office sell-off has stamp of success

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The Independent Online
Forget the politics for a moment. In City terms, selling the Post Office should be a piece of cake. Round at Kleinwort Benson - government advisers and frontrunners to handle the float - they must be rubbing their hands with glee.

Unlike the pounds 5bn-a-go trio of British Telecom extravaganzas, the Post Office sale will be small beer. The business made pre-tax profits of about pounds 283m last year on sales of pounds 5.3bn and is probably worth pounds 2bn, but the Government is only planning to sell half.

Even in today's jaundiced new issues climate, it would be easy enough to persuade institutions to take up pounds 1bn of scarce utility shares. By next year, when the legislation has creaked its way through Parliament, things may look much better.

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