Royal Mail warns on competition as profits rise

LONDON Thu May 22, 2014 2:14am EDT

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LONDON May 22 (Reuters) - Britain's Royal Mail, at the centre of a political storm over its privatisation, posted a 12 percent rise in full-year profit on Thursday, and said its business was facing tough headwinds from increasing competition.

The postal firm said operating profit before transformation costs rose to 671 million pounds in the year to March 30, in line with a company compiled consensus forecast. Group revenue rose 2 percent to 9.46 billion pounds, with a 7 percent rise in parcel sales offsetting a 2 percent fall in UK letter sales.

The privatisation of Royal Mail has been heavily criticised for short-changing the British taxpayer, with shares in the firm rocketing as much as 87 percent above the 330 pence price ministers sold a 60 percent stake for last October. (Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by Kate Holton)

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