Government sells off Eurostar stake

A Eurostar e320 train.

A Eurostar e320 train. - Credit: PA

The Government has reached agreement to sell off its entire stake in the Eurostar for £757 million, the Treasury has announced.

Ministers said the sum raised was “significantly ahead of expectations” when the UK’s shareholding in the cross-Channel rail link operator was put up for sale in October.

A consortium of institutional investors - Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure - have agreed to acquire Government’s 40% stake for £585.1 million.

In addition, Eurostar has agreed to redeem the Government’s preference share, raising a further £172 million for the Exchequer.

The Government’s Eurostar stake was originally identified as a possible candidate for sale in Chancellor George Osborne’s 2013 Autumn Statement 2013 as part of a £20 billion sell-off of official assets.

Mr Osborne said that it was “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,” he said.

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CDPQ is a Canadian institutional fund manager with investments worldwide 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.