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UPDATE 1-Royal Mail to pay one-off dividend, confirms annual profit outlook

(Adds industry background, shares, GLS outlook)

March 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s Royal Mail said it will pay a one-off dividend for the year ending March following recent upgrades to its financial outlook on the back of a surge in parcel demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and a recent pick-up in letter volumes.

After settling a long-running dispute with the workers’ union last year, Royal Mail sharpened its focus on its parcel delivery business, which boomed during the pandemic as shopping largely moved online.

Royal Mail, one of the oldest postal companies in the world, said it would pay a final dividend of 10 pence per share for the financial year ending March 28, adding that it would announce a new dividend policy along with its annual results in May.

It also confirmed its March 11 forecast of adjusted operating profit of 700 million pounds ($963.69 million) for the year.

For GLS, its ground-based parcel network which operates in around 40 countries in Europe and North America, the group outlined plans to focus on business-to-consumers, while targeting around 12% compound annual revenue growth rate over the next five years.

Royal Mail shares, which listed in 2013 after the company was sold off by the state, have gained more than 300% in the past 12 months, logging their best year in 2020 since its IPO. ($1 = 0.7264 pounds) (Reporting by Chris Thomas and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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