The Channel Tunnel Rail Link paid out a £200m dividend last year, despite swinging into losses of £113.2m.
High Speed 1, which runs the 108-kilometre high-speed railway that connects London to the Channel Tunnel, said it paid the dividend to shareholders after “having grown the value of the business over the last few years”.
The railway was transferred to government ownership in 2009, with a 30-year concession for its operation sold to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Borealis – both Canadian investors – for £2.1bn in 2010. The dividend increased from £11m the previous year, when the firm reported profit of £546.8m.
Much of the company’s losses came from a hefty debt refinancing last year, which HS1 said enabled the company “to raise more debt at a strong credit rating on the back of the higher valued business and therefore deliver additional value to shareholders.
“Given the concession nature of the business, the increase in the value of HS1 will allow the government to sell it for an even bigger sum at the end of the concession,” it added.