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Eurostar sale proves the commercial value of British high-speed rail

The UK Government’s sale of its 40% share in Eurostar raises £585m for the Exchequer – with a further £172m coming from the sale of its preference share, making a total of roundly £0.75bn. This exceeds handsomely the value expected: Government accounts showed a valuation at £325m.

The successful buyers following a competitive sale are Canadian Caisse de Depot du Placement du Quebec Pension Fund and the British company Hermes Infrastructure.

Eurostar now exceeds 10m passengers per annum, with a steady growth profile, and the prospects, for investors of an upside when new services coming in the near future with direct services from London to Amsterdam.

“The profitability of Eurostar augurs well for the services that will use HS2”, says Greengauge 21 Director Jim Steer. Eurostar earns its profits after paying access charges for the use of high speed lines and stations in Britain, Belgium and France and a significant charge payable to Eurotunnel too.

Overall use of HS1 – which has been let on a 30-year concession to another Canadian Pension Fund – now exceeds 20m passengers per annum. Alongside Eurostar is the fast growing domestic high-speed Javelin service serving Kent.