Royal Mail shares demand outstrips supply

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Huge interest among members of the public will hit institutional investors, but hundreds of staff refuse allocation of free shares

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Dozens of banks, hedge funds and other institutional investors will be prevented from buying any Royal Mail shares as demand for stakes in the privatisation hugely outstrips supply.

Institutional investors are thought to have ordered more than 10 times the number of shares available, meaning only those that offered to pay the maximum £3.30-a-share will be able to buy any stock – and even then they will not collect anywhere near the amount they requested.

A £3.30 share price values Royal Mail at £3.3bn and will see the government collect £2bn from the 60% of the business being sold. A further 10% is being given to Royal Mail’s 150,000 employees – each will collect shares worth about £2,200.

The original government price range for the shares – set on the advice of investment banks UBS and Goldman Sachs, which collected millions in advisory fees – had been between £2.60-£3.30. If the government had priced the shares at £4 it would have collected an extra £400m for taxpayers.

The amount of shares available to banks will be decreased to ensure the government meets the majority of orders from the public. The 10% of the shares reserved for employees are being distributed for free but it was revealed that 368 staff had refused to take up their allocation.

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