May 21, 2013 / 9:01 AM / 4 years ago

CORRECTED-Britain's Royal Mail sees profits more than double before privatisation

2 Min Read

(Corrects headline to show profits more than double, not almost double)

LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) - Britain's Royal Mail said annual profit had more than doubled on the back of an online shopping boom, providing a timely boost ahead of a stock market listing expected later this year.

An initial public offering (IPO) of the state-owned firm, which has 150,000 staff and sales of 9.15 billion pounds ($14 billion), is expected to value Royal Mail at between 2 and 3 billion pounds, and would be the biggest privatisation of a British asset for 20 years.

Royal Mail said on Tuesday adjusted operating profit in the year to March 31 was 403 million pounds, more than double the 152 million pounds posted a year earlier, reflecting the impact of growing parcels work fuelled by internet shopping, price rises and cost cutting.

"We are well positioned to continue to benefit from the structural change to e-retailing," said Chief Executive Moya Greene. "In the early weeks of 2013-14, we have seen similar trends to those seen in 2012-13."

The results are a marked turnaround for a firm that has been struggling to adapt to a more competitive market and falling letter volumes. The group has refocused on parcels, which grew 9 percent in the year to account for almost half of its revenue, and has modernised sorting operations. ($1 = 0.6570 British pounds) (Reporting by Neil Maidment, Editing by Paul Sandle and Helen Massy-Beresford)

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