Eurostar secures £ 250million bailout after demand collapses
Eurostar secured a £ 250million bailout after warning it was ‘fighting for its survival’ due to the coronavirus crisis.
The cross-Channel rail operator said it has entered into a financing agreement with its shareholders and banks.
This includes the French public railway company SNCF, which is the majority shareholder of the company.
The UK sold its stake in Eurostar to private firms for £ 757million in 2015, and the government has resisted pressure to help with the bailout.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs in February that the government was “very keen on Eurostar to survive” but insisted that “it is not our business” and that its difficulties were “the shareholder problem to be solved ”.
Following the announcement of the bailout deal, CEO Jacques Damas said: “Everyone at Eurostar is encouraged by this strong show of support from our shareholders and banks which will allow us to continue providing this important service to customers. passengers.
“The refinancing agreement is the key factor that allows us to increase our services as the situation with the pandemic begins to improve.
“Eurostar will continue to work closely with governments to move towards a secure easing of travel restrictions and streamlining of border procedures to allow passengers to travel safely and transparently.
“Their coordinated actions and decisions are critical to restoring demand and the financial recovery of our business.”
The package includes £ 150m of shareholder guaranteed loans, £ 50m of additional shareholders’ equity and the restructuring of £ 50m of existing loan facilities.
In November 2020, Eurostar said it was “fighting for its survival against a 95% drop in demand”.
He called on the UK government to provide further support, saying a taxpayer-funded scheme to cover up to £ 8million in commercial fares at every major UK airport puts it ‘directly at a disadvantage against its competitors air ”.
On Tuesday, the firm said in a statement that it had “experienced a more severe drop in demand … than any other European rail operator or competing airline” during the pandemic.
It has operated only one daily train in each direction between London and Paris, and between London and Amsterdam via Brussels, for several months.
Before the virus crisis, his daily schedule consisted of 56 trains.
The firm said it would increase the number of trains on the London-Paris route to two daily return flights from May 27, with a third added from the end of June.
Frequencies will gradually increase over the summer as travel restrictions are relaxed, the company said.
It pledged to focus on increasing the number of passengers on its main routes between London, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, and to “maintain tight cost controls” to guarantee loan repayment.