UK's Royal Mail seals place in FTSE 100 after listing

Reuters - UK Focus

* Royal Mail (Other OTC: ROYMF - news) enters Britain's top share index

* Ashtead also joins FTSE 100 after bullish guidance

* Vedanta the latest miner to drop from FTSE, Croda also out (Adds details)

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Newly-privatised Royal Mail Group will join Britain's top share index following a strongshare price performance since its stock market debut, FTSEconfirmed on Wednesday, two months to the day after its listing.

The postal firm has nearly doubled its share price since itshigh profile Oct (KOSDAQ: 039200.KQ - news) . 11 listing, with the government forced todefend itself against criticism that it sold the company toocheaply.

Around 40 million Royal Mail shares should change hands intrade worth nearly 250 million pounds ($410 million) in thefortnight around the quarterly reshuffle, analysts said.

It is to be joined in the FTSE 100 by Ashtead, which will also make its debut in the top share index.The industrial company confirmed its promotion after a 3.7percent rally on Tuesday when it guided its profit expectationshigher for the year.

The companies will replace Indian miner Vedanta, andspecialty chemicals maker Croda in the index.

Vedanta will become the fifth stock from the basic resourcessector to leave the index so far this year, following Kazakhminers Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ.L - news) and ENRC, steelmaker Evraz (LSE: EVR.L - news) and Polymetal in a year that has seen minersin particular suffer due to weak commodity prices. Vedanta hasdropped out after a seven-year stint as a blue chip.

Vedanta and Croda will join the FTSE 250 index formid-caps, along with freshly listed Merlin Entertainments and estate agents Foxtons. JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD.L - news) , mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse (LSE: CPW.L - news) ,building supplies group Grafton and Riverstone Energy will also join the index.

Leaving the FTSE 250 are bakery firm Greggs (Other OTC: GGGSF - news) ,Hochschild Mining (Other OTC: HCHDF - news) , carpet retailers Carpetright, LED makers Dialight (LSE: DIA.L - news) , newspaper distributorJohn Menzies (LSE: MNZS.L - news) , defence equipment maker Chemring and Schroder Asia Pacific Fund.

The changes take place after market close on December 20 andtake effect from the start of trading on December 23. (Editing by Andrew Roche)

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