Good news for UK taxpayers - and for the 200,000 employees of the state-owned Royal Mail Group.

The former cash-haemorrhaging postal operator is now back in the black and making operating profits of £1 million daily ($1.86m; €1.42m) - an exact reversal of its dire situation in 2002. As a result of the turnround all employees will receive a bonus of at least £800.

Reporting its half year results, Royal Mail said its ongoing modernisation and cost-cutting plan had resulted in an operating profit of £217m and is on course for a full year profit of £400m.

Critics, however, fear this new-found efficiency has been achieved at the expense of service quality. Although this has improved of late with 92.1% of all first class mail reaching its destination within one day of posting, it still falls short of the 92.5% target imposed by regulator Postcom.

Trumpets RM chairman Allan Leighton, a former ceo of Wal-Mart's UK arm Asda: "No-one should doubt or underestimate the scale of task we have tackled. We are delivering a massive modernisation programme, restoring profitability and driving up service to customers. Royal Mail is being transformed."

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff