Ardian and Antin to bid to acquire stake in Eurostar

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Ardian and Antin to bid to acquire stake in Eurostar

Paris-based Antin Infrastructure Partners and Ardian have emerged as potential bidders for the 40% stake in the Channel Tunnel express train operator Eurostar Group Ltd owned by the UK Government.

Eurostar is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Paris and Brussels. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated separately by Eurotunnel.

The service is operated by eighteen-coach Class 373/1 trains which run at up to 300 kilometres per hour (186 mph) on a network of high-speed lines. It carried 9.9 million passengers in 2012 and doubled its operating profit to £52.3 million.  

Eurostar has become the dominant operator in cross-channel intercity passenger travel on the routes that it operates, carrying more passengers than all airlines combined.

On 1 September 2010, Eurostar was incorporated as a single corporate entity called Eurostar International Limited (EIL), replacing the joint operation between Eurostar (UK) Ltd, and national railway companies of France and Belgium, SNCF and SNCB/NMBS. EIL is owned by SNCF (55%), London and Continental Railways -UK Government-owned company- (40%) and SNCB/NMBS (5%).

The UK Government put its 40 % stake up for sale back in December 2013. In June 2014, the UK shareholding in Eurostar International Limited (40%) was transferred from London and Continental Railways / Department for Transport to HM Treasury.

The stake has an estimated value of £300 million (US$591 million). The investment bank UBS has been appointed as transaction adviser.

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