Royal Mail adds advisers ahead of privatisation

LONDON Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:53am EST

LONDON Dec 17 (Reuters) - Britain's state-owned Royal Mail Group has added Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs as its advisers ahead of a planned privatisation.

Royal Mail also said that Barclays, which had been working with the postal services company for some time, had been confirmed as financial adviser to the group.

UBS has already been advising the government on what could be one of the most significant privatisations of a British asset since John Major's Conservative government sold the railways in the 1990s.

Bank of America and Goldman Sachs would provide Royal Mail with "additional support relating to early investor soundings to assist with government decision making on the form and timing of a future sale," Royal Mail said in a statement.

A stock market float for the company, which has almost 160,000 staff and sales of 9.5 billion pounds ($15.3 billion), is both Royal Mail and the government's preference as opposed to a sale, but all options remain on the table.

Royal Mail said no formal appointments specific to any future sale had been made yet and would be chosen by the government, once it had decided on the structure and timing.

A flotation is expected as early as the third quarter of next year, although Royal Mail Chief Executive Moya Greene told Reuters in March that the first quarter of 2014 was more likely.