4th March 2015
The government has reached an agreement for the sale of its entire stake in Eurostar 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 the government’s preference share, providing a further £172m for the exchequer.
The Autumn Statement 2013 and National Infrastructure Plan 2013 set out the government’s ambition to achieve £20 billion from corporate and financial asset sales by 2020. Having identified the government’s stake in Eurostar as a possible candidate for sale, and following a competitive sale process, the government has reached agreement to sell its interest.
Eurostar is Europe’s leading international high speed rail operator. Since services began in 1994, it has carried over 150 million passengers, with over 10 million in 2014 alone, whilst sustaining traffic growth every year for the last decade.
The government said that following the incorporation of Eurostar into its current form in 2010, it has continued to be highly successful; attracting record passenger numbers, launching new destinations and is now about to introduce a new fleet of trains.
As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity and real estate.
Hermes Infrastructure, part of Hermes Investment Management, is a UK-based fund managing approximately £3 billion on behalf of clients including the Hermes GPE Infrastructure Fund.
The Chancellor George Osborne said: “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.
“Investing in the best quality infrastructure for Britain, getting the best value for money for the taxpayer and tackling our country’s debts are key parts of our long term economic plan, and in today’s agreement, we are delivering on all three.”