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Royal Mail cuts parcels growth outlook as profit falls

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Peter Macdiarmid | Getty Images

Britain's Royal Mail halved the expected growth rate of its U.K. parcels market to 1-2 percent on Wednesday due to fierce competition which helped send first-half operating profit down 21 percent.

The group, sold off by the government in October 2013, said operating profit before transformation costs for the six months to September 28 fell to 279 million pounds ($436 million), with higher pension costs and the absence of a VAT refund received a year ago also hitting numbers.

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The figure was at the top end of an analyst forecast range of 237-279 million pounds.

Pricing pressure pushed U.K. parcels revenue down 1 percent, with UK letter revenue up 1 percent. Group revenue rose 2 percent to 4.53 billion pounds.

Read MoreRoyal Mail first half profits almost double