Kwarteng uses national security powers over Royal Mail investor
Thursday, August 25, 2022
Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng will take action under the National Security & Investment Act if a foreign investor increases its already substantial stake in Royal Mail.
Royal Mail announced today (25 August) that it had received a notification from Kwarteng, who heads the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), “that he reasonably suspects that arrangements are in progress or contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in Vesa increasing its shareholding in Royal Mail from 25% or less to more than 25%”.
Luxembourg-headquartered Vesa Equity Investment has a stake of just over 22% according to the latest information held by Royal Mail, and is the group's biggest investor.
The Secretary of State has notified Royal Mail that if Vesa ups its stake it “would constitute a trigger event under the NSI Act” and that he is exercising his call-in power.
The National Security & Investment Act (NSI) came into force on 4 January.
The Act gives the government powers to scrutinise and intervene in business transactions, such as takeovers, “to protect national security”.
It is also intended to provide businesses and investors with the certainty and transparency they need to do business in the UK.
Royal Mail is currently battling strike action that will affect deliveries from this week.
Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský is one of the co-owners of Vesa.
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