Eurostar reaches refinancing agreement with shareholders
By confirming the refinancing agreement, Eurostar will be able to continue to operate the vital link between the UK and parts of Europe and meet its financial obligations in the short- to mid-term
Eurostar – the international high-speed rail service connecting the UK with France, Belgium and the Netherlands – has announced that it has reached a refinancing agreement with its shareholders and banks.
The refinancing package of £250 million mainly consists of additional equity and loans from a syndicate of banks guaranteed by the shareholders: SNCF, the French state railway group; Eurostar’s majority shareholder, Patina Rail LLP; a vehicle backed by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ); funds managed by the infrastructure team of Federated Hermes; and SNCB, the Belgian state train operator.
Jacques Damas, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: “Everyone at Eurostar is encouraged by this strong show of support from our shareholders and banks, which will allow us to continue to provide this important service for passengers. The refinancing agreement is the key factor enabling us to increase our services as the situation with the pandemic starts to improve. Eurostar will continue to work closely with governments to move towards a safe easing of travel restrictions and streamlining of border processes to allow passengers to travel safely and seamlessly. Their co-ordinated actions and decisions are crucial to the restoring of demand and the financial recovery of our business.”
Since March 2020, Eurostar – an international business dedicated to routes connecting the UK with the continent – has experienced a more severe decline in demand resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic than any other European train operator or competitor airline. With this package of support, Eurostar will be able to continue to operate this vital link and meet its financial obligations in the short- to mid-term.
Going forward, the focus will be on restoring demand for travel on Eurostar’s core routes between London and Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, and on maintaining rigorous cost control to ensure the repayment of loans.
Eurostar will increase the number of trains on its London-Paris route to two daily return services from the 27 May 2021, and three per day from the end of June 2021, with a view to gradually increasing the frequency over the summer period as travel restrictions are eased.
Eurostar remains committed to its role in reducing the impact of climate change, particularly in light of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in the UK in November 2021, and the growing appetite of passengers for high-speed rail travel.
This refinancing package secures Eurostar’s future as restrictions ease and travel begins to gradually resume. With the refinancing in place, Eurostar will have the opportunity to recover and successfully complete its merger with Thalys, as part of the Green Speed project.