Has the Government misplayed its hand with the Royal Mail sell-off?
The taxpayer relies on ministers in such privatisations to play the cards they are dealt for the strongest possible return.
The remarkable instant surge in the value of Royal Mail shares suggests they may have miscalculated badly.
By neglecting to exercise the right to increase the price of shares in the event of unexpected demand, it certainly appears as though the public purse may have been short-changed. Demand wholly exceeded both expectations and the number available.
With markets seeing a price increase of 38% yesterday, before it dropped back, those who were allocated shares made an instant profit.
Was the massive oversubscription entirely due to investors' hopes for the future performance of the company? There has been speculation that, due to the depression of interest rates and lack of other investment opportunities, many would-be investors were more than happy to take a punt on the shares.
However, advantages such as Royal Mail's property portfolio and growing parcels business have to be balanced against the apparent need to continue to modernise the 500-year-old company, and a backdrop of union unrest and likely strike action.
The argument in favour of privatisation is that it will free the company to invest in developments needed to take on competitors in the delivery market with more experience and more manouverability. Business Secretary Vince Cable is right to say this privatisation will need to be judged when the dust has settled and the price volatility eased, allowing a more measured analysis of the company's worth and the deal that has been achieved on behalf of taxpayers.
But major questions remain about the essential fairness of this deal. With £8 billion of taxpayers' money funding pension liabilities to make the company attractive to investors, the public has already lost out. It has become a familiar story that the debts are nationalised in such deals, while profit is privatised.
Yes, early investors look like scooping a windfall but, for vast numbers, the price to enter this sweepstake was beyond them. Royal Mail staff will gain from the generous free share allocation they received, but only time will tell whether they benefit in the long run.
First Minister Alex Salmond's commitment to renationalise the Royal Mail in a future independent Scotland, uncosted and lacking in detail, cannot help but feel like a sideshow.
What also remains is real concern about the future of mail delivery. It is a crucial public service, particularly so in Scotland, and it is vital that this remains universal and fairly priced so that remote or distant rural communities are not disadvantaged.
The company's Scottish operations manager, Gary O'Rourke, has given guarantees that the Royal Mail will continue to offer a six-day-a-week, one-price-delivers-anywhere postal serivce that is affordable and universal.
The Government too insists that this cannot change without a vote in both Houses of Parliament.
This is the real test of the skills of Mr Cable and his predecessor Michael Fallon. In Scotland in particular, any loss of the universal one-price service would be disastrous and override any Stock Market gain for small investors, whether in the short or long term.
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