Wednesday 26 May 2021

Eurostar Rescue by French Railways and Other Investors Will Allow Green Speed Project to Proceed

Following the  £250m rescue package of Eurostar from banks and investors as it continues to battle a severe drop in demand due to the Covid-19 crisis, it is hoped that Eurostar will have the opportunity to recover and successfully complete its merger with Thalys, as part of the Green Speed project.

The refinancing package of £250m mainly consists of additional equity and loans from a syndicate of banks guaranteed by the shareholders: SNCF, the French state railway group and Eurostar’s majority shareholder, 
Patina Rail LLP, a vehicle backed by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (“CDPQ”) and 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.”

Over the last year, this 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 27th May, and three per day from the end of June 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 COP 26 summit taking place in the UK in November this year, 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.

Green Speed Project to combine Eurostar and Thalys

The aims of the project are

An attractive alternative to air and road travel for nearly 30 million passengers per year by 2030.

A high-speed train service relying on renewable energy and an ambitious sustainability policy

Simpler international travel for every customer

Attractive offers and a single passenger loyalty programme

A multicultural, warm and friendly service