London: The British government is considering selling a large stake of the struggling state-owned postal service Royal Mail to a foreign company, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Tuesday.
It said express delivery service TNT, part of Dutch firm TPG, and DHL, the parcel courier that is part of Deutsche Post, are vying for a stake in a deal worth about £3 billion ($4.5 billion).
The newspaper, citing industry insiders, said TNT was the favourite - the company is already the main competitor to Royal Mail and collects more than a billion items of mail in Britain every year.
An independent report into the future of the Royal Mail is due to be published later on Tuesday, and will reportedly call for a radical shake-up of the company in response to falling profits and a huge pensions deficit.
The pensions deficit was £3.4 billion in 2006 but is likely to have doubled when a new valuation is made next year.
Royal Mail’s 350-year-long monopoly of the letter-delivery business ended in January 2006, as new rules kicked in to allow rival operators to win a slice of the market, but it still operates most British postal services.