The UK government has announced that it is selling its 40 per cent stake in Eurostar.
Chancellor George Osborne announced that Anglo-Canadian consortium Patina Rail LLP would be purchasing the interest in a deal for £757.1 million. The government has been planning to sell since announcing its Autumn Statement and National Infrastructure Plan in 2013. Mr Osborne explained that the price tag was "far more than people expected".
Eurostar, a passenger rail service which connects London to France and Belgium, is currently split between three parties in terms of ownership. The UK government owns 40 per cent while the remainder is made up of French and Belgian national railways.
The Patina Rail LLP consortium is made up of Canada's Caisee de Depot et Placement du Quebec (DCPQ) and UK-based Hermes Infrastructure. Under the terms of the new agreement DCPQ will have a 30 per cent share while Hermes will have ten per cent.
Commenting on the deal, Mr Osborne added: "This is a very good deal – it means we can cut the national debt, it means we can invest in our national infrastructure and it's fantastic value for British taxpayers. It's all part of our long-term plan to secure Britain's future."
Strong passenger numbers growth
The popularity of the Eurostar has not wavered in recent times with a report published in July 2014 showing that passenger numbers had grown by two per cent during the first half of the year. This equated to an increase from 4.9 million to five million in the space of just six months. Revenues on the service had also been boosted 0.5 per cent to £456 million from £453 million.
However, the traditionally busy summer resulted in a slight slowing of growth due to the fall in demand for holidays in northern Europe combined with people preferring to stay at home to watch the World Cup.
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