Government confirms Eurostar privatisation

THE Government has confirmed that it intends to sell its 40 per cent stake in Eurostar to the private sector.

The announcement forms part of its updated National Infrastructure Plan, which includes more than 600 projects and a total budget of £375 billion.

The new plan also includes a guarantee of public support for the £1 billion extension of the London Underground Northern Line to Battersea and £50 million for modernising Gatwick Airport station.

Eurostar was restructured three years ago, and reported gross operating profits of £25 million in 2011 and £52.3 million in 2012.

The majority of the company is owned by the French state-owned operator SNCF, which has 55 per cent, while the other 5 per cent is held by the Belgian state railway SNCB.

Expansion plans include 10 new 320km/h trains, which are currently being built by Siemens in Germany, and the introduction of through services between London, Rotterdam and Amsterdam in late 2016.

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