Privatisation could make a return

BRITAIN could be in line for another spate of privatisations due to the deteriorating state of the public finances, it was claimed yesterday.

Martin Payne, the divisional director of Brewin Dolphin in Leeds, said the Royal Mail could be sold off.

He said: “In 1984, the privatisation of BT, a state-owned business, paved the way for privatisations around the globe. The success of BT created a wave of sell-offs that presented opportunities for investors.”

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Mr Payne said British Gas, which was sold in 1986, had been the most profitable privatisation.

He added: “Strong management has transformed British Gas into a global integrated oil and gas company and investors have reaped rewards.

“In 2008, the Adam Smith Institute estimated that the government could raise as much as £20bn from privatisation, with candidates including; the Royal Mail, Channel 4, BBC Worldwide, Scottish Water, Northern Ireland Water, and the National Air Traffic Control System.

“The opportunities to buy shares at a discount, the scope for rapid growth following flotation and the chance of premium takeover bids from larger firms down the line, all contribute to expectation of profits.”