The UK government has reached agreement for the sale of its entire interest in Eurostar International Limited (“Eurostar”) to an Anglo-Canadian consortium for £757.1m.
A consortium comprising Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure has agreed to acquire government’s 40% stake in Eurostar for £585.1m. The sum exceeds expectations for the 40% stake when the government announced that it was inviting offers for its stake in October 2014. Eurostar has, on closing of the sale of the government stake, agreed to redeem HMG’s preference share, providing a further £172m for the exchequer.
SNCF and SNCB – the other shareholders in Eurostar – have the option (the “Pre-emption Right”) to acquire HMG’s 40% stake for a 15% premium to the agreed price of £585.1m. Closing of the sale to the CDPQ and Hermes Infrastructure consortium is conditional on SNCF and SNCB not exercising the Pre-emption Right. The transaction is also conditional on regulatory approval.
Eurostar began service in 1994 and it has carried over 150 million passengers, with over 10 million in 2014 alone, whilst sustaining traffic growth every year for the last decade.
“It’s great that we have reached an agreement to sell the UK’s shareholding in Eurostar that delivers a fantastic deal for UK taxpayers that exceeds expectations”, stated Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.