Eurostar escapes impending bankruptcy

LeeThe cross-channel company Eurostar, a 55%-owned subsidiary of SNCF, announced on Tuesday that it has reached a £250 million (290 million euro) financing agreement with its shareholders and banks, to prevent imminent bankruptcy. be able to escape.

Eurostar, which currently only offers one Paris-London and one Paris-Brussels round per day, had to find brand new money before the start of May–June to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

The company is treated as a French public company in the United Kingdom, while it is often seen as a British company in France because it is based in London. It has failed to benefit from direct assistance or loans guaranteed by the states.

The company “secures the future of Eurostar in terms of the removal of travel restrictions and a gradual resumption of activity”, the company said in a statement. “The support measures decided today will enable it to meet its short and medium term financial obligations”.

SNCF Voyagers CEO Christoph Fanechet welcomed “this refinance, which is a major step forward in ensuring the stability of Eurostar and travel between the continent and Great Britain”.

Loss of almost all passengers

This includes an equity contribution of £50 million by its shareholders, $150 million in debt guaranteed by these same shareholders, and a 50 million restructuring of existing credit facilities.

In addition to SNCF, Eurostar is 40% owned by the Patina Rail Consortium – made up of 30% by the Cais de Depo et Placement du Québec and 10% by the British fund Hermes Infrastructure – and 5% by the Belgian SNCB.

These shareholders have already contributed EUR 210 million.

Eurostar, which has lost almost all its passengers for a year, has done everything to reduce its costs and has borrowed 450 million euros.

The company will have to increase its offer to two daily round trips on the London-Paris line, then with a third service from the end of June. “This will gradually increase in frequency over the summer as an expected relaxation of travel restrictions,” the statement said.

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