Jock1e - I was perhaps one of those very fortunate people who obtained shares in all the other sell-off the government of that times undertook. I also happened to be a long term Automobile Association member, plus held accounts with a number of building societies. I made money on them all, as a short term shareholder.
This Royal Mail sell-off seems a bit more complicated?.
Yes I will be purchasing and have already completed the application with my broker.
The long term future for Royal Mail is uncertain as letter mail has declined sharply in recent years due to electronic means of communication. The continuing obligation for them to provide a universal service will perhaps allow others to cherry pick the more lucrative areas to offer alternative services at a lower cost.
Parcel post volume has increased due to internet shopping, but home deliveries can be problematic due to householders being at work. Collection from a pick-up point seems to be the way it's going and doesn't need the Royal Mail to do the last mile.
On top of that we have threatened industrial action.
All in all the business faces some significant challenges, but the shares will be priced to go and I expect a quick profit for early sellers. The expected dividend for anyone retaining shares is upwards of 6%. Try getting that from a savings account.
I could well have a red face and be nursing a loss in a few days time, but my intended purchase will represent only a small percentage of my total portfolio and may be scaled back further if there is a big demand for the shares. Holding only the shares of one company or only a few privatised companies for example is high risk and not recommended.
...held accounts with a number of building societies. I made money on them all, as a short term shareholder.
I also received shares in several Building Societies but I kept mine, and in the case of Abbey (Santander) actually bought extra (£500 worth the maximum allowed). At their highest they were worth nearly £10,000, but the main benefit is that I have received several thousand pounds in Dividends over the years, and in recent years with regular Rights Issues have accumulated quite a few extra shares.
The other free shares that have given me a good return are Sun Life of Canada which I got because I had a Life policy with them, and give me a good dividend payout.