01 June 1998

A SERIES OF major acquisitions and joint ventures overseas are set-up and ready to roll at the Post Office in anticipation of the relaxation of Government controls this autumn. Additionally, a number of 'modest investments', permissible within the current rules, are already under way and the PO is mulling whether it should bid to run the National Lottery when the franchise comes up for renewal in 2001. Meantime, the PO continues to amass substantial profits from its domestic mail monopoly and announced a record pre-tax figure of £651m. Ninety per cent of this will seep into the Treasury's bottomless pit, but the PO hopes to sweet-talk the Iron Chancellor into lower future dividend payments of between 40-50%.