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Mail sale 'could have raised more'

The Government could have achieved more money for the taxpayer from its sale of Royal Mail, but not as much as the £1 billion suggested by some critics, an official report is expected to say.

Former City minister Lord Myners will tomorrow publish the findings of his study into the controversial sell-off, which Labour has described as "botched".

Opponents have claimed that the Government could have received millions more - possibly up to £1 billion - if shares had been priced higher than the 330p when the privatisation went ahead in October 2013.

Lord Myners is expected to say that if shares had been priced 20p-30p higher, up to £180 million extra could have been netted for the taxpayer.

But the report is also expected to say that pricing shares higher would have been risky, an argument constantly put forward by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

The Government sold 60% of Royal Mail, raising nearly £2 billion.

But ministers faced criticism after shares increased by 38% on the first day of trading, later peaking at 615p before falling back.

MPs have said that taxpayers may have lost up to £1 billion in potential proceeds from the sale, but this is believed to have been rejected by Lord Myners.

Mr Cable has defended the sale process and once described the share price rise as "froth".

Mr Myners will also say if he supports a wider review of so-called initial public offerings and the way the Shareholder Executive, which manages state-owned assets, handled the Royal Mail privatisation.

The National Audit Office criticised the flotation earlier this year.


From Belfast Telegraph