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Royal Mail is the United Kingdom’s designated postal services provider, delivering letters and parcels across the UK and internationally. Originally state-owned, Royal Mail became a public limited company in 2013 and was listed on the London Stock Exchange, making shares available to investors. As an investment, Royal Mail shares have seen ups and downs over the years but remain an integral part of many investment portfolios.

This article will look at key details around investing in Royal Mail. We will find out what Royal Mail shares are now called after privatization, who the major shareholder is, look back on the Royal Mail share price history in 2023, and discuss the various factors that influence this company’s valuations and share price fluctuations.


What Are Royal Mail Shares Now Called?

Royal Mail Group plc operated under that name from its 2013 privatization until October 2022, when it changed its legal name to International Distributions Services plc.


The corporate rebranding was initiated by management to reflect the company’s growing focus on expanding its international delivery services operations under the General Logistics Systems (GLS) subsidiary. With GLS seeing higher growth compared to the declining letters business, highlighting the global transport and parcel capabilities was intended to reposition the public identity of the group.

So investors today wanting to invest in the company formerly Royal Mail need to purchase shares of International Distributions Services plc. Traded under the ticker IDS, it encompasses the legacy Royal Mail postal operations within the UK and the GLS services handling overseas package deliveries.


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Who Owns Most of Royal Mail Shares?

The largest shareholder of Royal Mail today is Vesa Equity Investment, an investment vehicle owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský. Often called the “Czech Sphinx,” Křetínský acquired a stake in Royal Mail in 2020 through Vesa and has continued accumulating shares since.


A picture capturing Daniel speaking into a microphone


Known for targeting undervalued or struggling European companies to buy large ownership stakes, Křetínský now controls around 22% of Royal Mail. This makes him the most influential voice in shareholder decisions impacting the company’s future. Other minority shareholders in Royal Mail include BlackRock, Columbia Threadneedle, and Lindsell Train.

Křetínský has stakes in several major UK companies outside his Royal Mail holdings. He owns a share of the supermarket chain J Sainsbury’s through Vesa. He also has an ownership share of the English Premier League football club West Ham United alongside Czech partner Pavel Horský.


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Royal Mail Share Price History In 2023

The Royal Mail share price started the year at 2.7500 on January 1st. Over the next two months, it gradually increased to 2.7900 by March 1st. By the end of March, the Royal Mail share price had risen to 3.0500, marking its highest level in 2023.

The Royal Mail share price held steady at 3.0500 through the end of May. This indicates a period of stability and reflects positive investor sentiment. In June, the Royal Mail share price rallied to reach 3.3100 by the end of the month - its peak for the year. However, this rise was short-lived. In July, the share price pulled back sharply to 3.0000. It then continued declining in August and September, settling around 2.9800.

So far in 2023, Royal Mail’s shares trended upwards from January to June, reaching an annual high of 3.3100. But since peaking in June, the share price has retreated and given up most of those gains. As of December 1st, the Royal Mail share price sits at 2.9800 - slightly above where it started the year.

Going forward, monitoring factors like financial performance, management changes, and market conditions that may impact investor confidence and the Royal Mail share price will be essential. This can give you insights on when to buy or sell the stocks you have traded.


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Factors Influencing Royal Mail Share Price

Several macroeconomic and company-specific variables significantly impact the equity valuation and share price performance of International Distributions Services plc (IDS), formerly Royal Mail company.

Company Financial Performance

As one of Britain’s most extensive postal and delivery services, the overall profit growth trajectory of IDS remains vital to maintaining investor confidence. Persistent declines in high-margin letter mail revenues and low-margin parcel delivery growth have squeezed margins. Failure to cut costs sufficiently amid these headwinds leaves IDS shares vulnerable. Any larger-than-expected dips in earnings frequently punish the stock price.

Parcel Volumes from E-Commerce Growth


A cardboard box labelled


While letter delivery demand shrinks, the explosion of e-commerce and online shopping provides revenue tailwinds through higher parcel delivery volumes. IDS has benefited from accelerating e-commerce adoption since 2020, providing a buffer as its letter business declines structurally. If parcel demand growth moderates in a weak economy, this crucial offset from online shopping could fade and jeopardize financial targets.

Threats from Competitors

While dominant in postal services, IDS faces increasing competition in parcels from newer specialized players. Rapid growth from digitally-native brands like Deliveroo, Gopuff, or Amazon using modern tech platforms threatens to disrupt IDS. Losing significant market share in parcel delivery would severely inhibit revenues and leave the stock languishing.

With macro uncertainties now compounding its long-running business model challenges, International Distributions Services contends with considerable volatility risks ahead. Its ability to implement financial reforms amid this backdrop while resolving entrenched disputes will determine if a recovery in share prices is possible.


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As we come to the end

Royal Mail (now International Distributions Services) shares offer a potential upside. Traders should exercise caution given the multitude of risks facing the company. With persistent declines in its traditional letter delivery business, Royal Mail relies heavily on parcel shipment growth to offset revenue losses. However, intensifying competition in the parcels industry threatens to erode Royal Mail’s market share.

Given these headwinds, traders should closely monitor key factors like financial performance, market share changes, and economic conditions that may negatively impact investor confidence and Royal Mail’s share price. Trade carefully and learn more about the underlying factors driving share price movements before committing to real capital investment.


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“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.”

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