By Jonathan Davies
The government could have made an extra £180 million from the sale of Royal Mail, according to a report commissioned by business secretary Vince Cable.
The government made £2bn from the share sale, but the report found that a further £180m could have been generated if shares had been sold for just 30p more than its 330p floatation price.
The report was launched after a National Audit Office review said the sale was too rushed at the expense of value for money for the taxpayers.
Royal Mail's shares jumped by 38% on its first day of trading in October 2013 before hitting a peak of 615p per share. They are now trading at just under 400p.
Former City minister Lord Myners, who authored the report, said a higher price could've been achieved but "the consensus appears to be that this was the order of 20p-30p per share... equating to proceeds to government at IPO of £120-180m".
He added: "For the avoidance of doubt, we do not believe that a price anywhere near the levels seen in the aftermarket could have been achieved at listing."
"The sale was done against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty and a threat of industrial action, which go a long way towards explaining the cautious approach taken throughout the process.
"We found no evidence to challenge the general assertion that an IPO price greater than 350-360p could have been achieved and we accept that a decision to revise the range would have come with added uncertainty and risk. The right decisions were made."
Vince Cable said: "It contains a number of significant proposals which could make the general process of future sales more transparent... In particular [financial regulators] should explore how digital auctions could, in certain circumstances, make the sale process much more flexible."
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