Sale of the UK stake raises £757 million
In March 2015, HMG raised £757 million through the sale of its 40% shareholding in Eurostar and associated preference share. The buyer was a consortium comprising Caisses des Depots de Quebec and Hermes Infrastructure. The sale process had been launched the previous October and was structured as a two phase competitive auction.
UKGI established a skilled team to lead the negotiations and sale process on behalf of Government. This team was a blend of individuals with both private sector and civil service backgrounds to navigate the path between investors and Whitehall. This careful mix allowed for growth and knowledge building of all team members.
Prior to launching the process, UKGI ensured that comprehensive due diligence material was in place which allowed us to maintain a strict timetable and maximise competitive tension. In addition, negotiations before the sale launch with the other shareholders (SNCF of France – 55% and SNCB of Belgium – 5%) put in place a new shareholders’ agreement. This became effective on completion of the HMG sale and enshrined certain rights for the purchaser to maximise value from the sale.
In reviewing the sale, the NAO noted the strong competitive tension and ability to maximise value for the taxpayer.