Royal Mail profit doubles

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Mail posted a doubling of full-year operating profit with each of its four units contributing for the first time in two decades, and said its pension fund deficit had also doubled.

Royal Mail <GBPO.UL>, which runs mail, parcel delivery and logistics businesses, reported a 2008-09 operating profit of 321 million pounds on Thursday, on revenues up 2 percent to 9.56 billion pounds.

However, the company said its pension fund deficit rose to 6.8 billion pounds from 2.9 billion, even after it paid in 800 million. It said the deficit widened because of a fall in the value of its investments and because people were living longer.

Separately on Thursday, BT <BT.L>, the former state-owned telecoms monopoly, also said its pension deficit had shot up.

Royal Mail said its mail business saw volumes fall 5.5 percent during the year and forecast it would fall a further 10 percent in 2009-10 because of the economic downturn and increased competition from email.

Royal Mail's parcels delivery arm -- General Logistics Systems (GLS) -- the subject of a recent and unsuccessful bid approach from Dutch mail firm TNT <TNT.AS> grew profit by 9 percent during the period.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones; Editing by Dan Lalor)

Article Published: 14/05/2009