Panmure Gordon’s Gert Zonneveld was the first independent number cruncher to put a value on the postal service, which he argued at the time was worth £3.7bn-£4.5bn (against the official guess of £2.6bn-£3.3bn).
As we now know, the business floated at £3.3bn and soared to £6bn – meaning that the government stood accused of gifting it to a bunch of spivs. It’s now worth £4.7bn – leaving Zonneveld as a City rarity who might actually know what he’s talking about.
So, as we await the Royal Mail’s results this week, what’s his current view? There’s been bad news (deterioration in the parcels market and a more competitive sector) but on the plus side Royal Mail’s recent £111m disposal of its Paddington property suggests plenty of upside for other sites on the block. “Originally people asked: ‘Why wasn’t there a deal done to allow an element of the [property] proceeds to flow back to the state?’,” he muses. “It was said at the time that [the sites] weren’t worth that much. They were worth quite a lot more than expected.”
My emphasis. Vince Cable really should hang his head in shame.