Posted 4th December 2013 | 6 Comments

Government confirms Eurostar privatisation

THE Government has confirmed that it intends to sell its 40 per cent stake in Eurostar to the private sector.

The announcement forms part of its updated National Infrastructure Plan, which includes more than 600 projects and a total budget of £375 billion.

The new plan also includes a guarantee of public support for the £1 billion extension of the London Underground Northern Line to Battersea and £50 million for modernising Gatwick Airport station.

Eurostar was restructured three years ago, and reported gross operating profits of £25 million in 2011 and £52.3 million in 2012.

The majority of the company is owned by the French state-owned operator SNCF, which has 55 per cent, while the other 5 per cent is held by the Belgian state railway SNCB.

Expansion plans include 10 new 320km/h trains, which are currently being built by Siemens in Germany, and the introduction of through services between London, Rotterdam and Amsterdam in late 2016.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Steve, Luton

    Luke stevens is right, the profit made is small compared to the couple of billion made from an instant sale by the DoT.

    Ah, not so fast MikeB. There might be other interested parties other than SNCF. 'Allo 'Allo-style collaboration with the Germans maybe? Thalys is becoming a standalone company with French SNCF/Belgian SNCB/Dutch NS railways as shareholders. NS could be a contender to faciliate the planned Eurostar Rotterdam and Amsterdam services in 2016.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    I theoretically lost a lot of money with Eurotunnel shares but am happy to have been part of that great project of the 20th Century. I can't see anyone making any money out of buying Eurostar shares. When the competition starts, then Eurostar will be lucky to make a profit. I think the Government knows this and is trying to make a fast buck. Whether there are any takers remains to be seen.

  • MikeB, Liverpool

    Apart from the armed forces, the present Government wants everything it owns (on behalf of the taxpayer) to be sold off - even parts of the army, navy and air force could be considered for privatisation at some future date! The big question for Eurostar is to whom the state's 40% shareholding will be sold? If nobody in the British private sector is interested, undoubtedly it will become 95% owned by SNCF - i.e. the French taxpayers.

  • John Hartshorne, Stafford

    Another Royal Mail Group job looms.No such announcement by SNCF or the Belgians I see!

  • Luke stevens, London

    The money made in profit will be small in comparison to the money made by selling. And transport infrastructure doens't have enough money being spent on it..

  • David McDonald, Rickmansworth

    I honestly cant NOT fathom this out. The company is successful and making a profit so why sell? Same with east coast and Royal Mail!