Eurostar secures €290m rescue package to save it from bankruptcy

Eurostar secures €290m rescue package to save it from bankruptcy
Photo; Jasper Jacobs/AFP
Eurostar said on Tuesday that it had secured a €290-million rescue package to keep it afloat while waiting for Covid-19 travel curbs to be lifted.

The company, which had been on the verge of bankruptcy, said the funds provided by shareholders and banks would “secure Eurostar’s future”.

Eurostar has continued to run a skeleton service even throughout the strict lockdown and travel bans between France, the UK and Belgium, but receiving only a fraction of its usual income.

OPINION The Eurostar is a vital service for Britain and France and should be saved

The London-based company has struggled to access government financial aid due to its ownership structure, with both the British and French governments reluctant to assume sole responsibility for bailing out the company.

It began as a joint venture between the British and French governments, but then the British sold off its share to private investors.

The group is now 55 percent owned by the French national rail provider SNCF, 30 percent by Canadian institutional fund manager Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ), 10 percent by Britain-based fund Hermes Infrastructure, and five percent by the Belgian railway SNCB.

Eurostar had been gradually expanding its services, with new lines opened up from London to Amsterdam, the Alps, the south of France and other destinations in recent years in addition to the regular lines between Paris and Brussels.

Its €290 million refinancing package is made up of €58 million in new shareholder equity, €175 million in shareholder-guaranteed loans and €58 million in restructured loans.

Eurostar said the deal would help it meet its financial commitments in the “short and medium-term”.

The company plans to start running more trains between Paris and London over the summer.


Member comments

  1. This funding will allow the merger of Eurostar and Thalys to take place (as admitted by a spokesperson further on in the press statement). Whether or not this is “a good thing” for the passenger remains to be seen.

  2. Excellent news; the Eurostar network is vital to the European infrastructure and part of the future Paris Accord targets. My son is studying in the UK and the only obvious way to travel there is by train. He made the trip last w/e and the whole process from beginning to end worked as smoothly as ever. Lets hope the funding is sufficient to get Eurostar to a point where it can be financially sustainable.

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