The British government has announced its plans to privatise its national mail service, the Royal Mail, by floating part of the service on the London Stock Exchange this year.
The sale of the Royal Mail is expected by market analysts to raise 2-3 billion pounds (about $2.9-4.4 billion), and will take place in the autumn, reported Xinhua citing business secretary Vince Cable in an announcement in the House of Commons Wednesday.
"The government's decision on the sale is practical, it is logical, it is a commercial decision designed to put Royal Mail's future on a long-term sustainable business. It is consistent with developments elsewhere in Europe," Cable said.
The privatisation of the Royal Mail is the largest sale of a public asset for more than 20 years, and will provide a boost to Britain's government income in a period of strict budget austerity. Cable said it would allow Royal Mail management to focus on "growing the business".
The Royal Mail employs 150,000 workers and delivers mail and parcels to all parts of the country.
The mail business sector has seen increasing competition in the past 10 years from many private companies with international networks. It has also witnessed a restructuring of demand with the decline of letters and the rise of parcel deliveries from Internet-based businesses.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU), representing 100,000 Royal Mail workers, though said it would oppose the sale.