Eurostar confirms securing £250m financial support packagewritten by Bella Palmer
The financial support will enable Eurostar to meet its financial obligations
Eurostar today confirmed it has secured a financial support package that will pave the way for its recovery.
The £250m refinancing package largely consists of additional equity and loans from a syndicate of banks guaranteed by the shareholders, including the French state railway group SNCF, Patina Rail LLP, the Belgian state train operator SNCB, and funds managed by the infrastructure team of Federated Hermes.
The financial support will enable Eurostar to continue to operate and meet its financial obligations in the short-to-medium term.
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, Damas said.
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, Damas said.
Passenger numbers on the cross-Channel train service – which reaches the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands – have dropped to just one per cent of pre-pandemic levels, prompting fears for the future of the transport provider.
Eurostar appealed to the UK government for financial support in January after the pandemic left the company “fighting for survival”.
But transport secretary Grant Shapps insisted Eurostar is not our company to rescue.
David Cameron’s Conservative government sold the UK’s share of the business in 2015 for £750m.
Going forward, the focus will be on restoring demand on core Eurostar routes between London and Paris, and Brussels and Amsterdam.
From 27 May, Eurostar will raise the number of trains on its London-Paris route to two daily services, increasing to three per day by the end of June.
The frequency of services is expected to rise over the summer as travel restrictions ease.
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