27-mile M6 Toll motorway to be put up for sale by its consortium of banker owners

Emma Haslett
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UK's First Toll Charging Motorway Opens
The M6 Toll road was first launched in 2003 (Source: Getty)

Britain's only toll motorway - a 27-mile stretch of free-cruising, uncongested motoring delight - has been put up for sale by its owners, City A.M. understands.

It's thought the owners of the M6 Toll, which runs between Cannock and Coleshill in the West Midlands, want to take advantage of a jump in the number of vehicles using it in recent months to sell it off.

The road is currently owned by a consortium of 27 institutional investors, including Commerzbank and Credit Agricole, which took it on under a debt restructuring deal in 2013. Although financial advisers have not been appointed, so it hasn't bee valued yet, it has total debt of £1.9bn.

The amount of traffic using the road, which charges cars £5.50 and lorries £11 per journey, increased 12.6 per cent in 2015, to 17.4m vehicles. In the fourth quarter of the year alone, that increase was 14.4 per cent - with a 28 per cent jump in the number of heavy goods vehicles using it.

That works out at about 48,000 vehicles a day using the route during the fourth quarter of 2015 - the highest it has ever been

Although pension funds and other institutional investors are expected to be interested, in 2013 Centro, the West Midlands transport authority, called for the motorway to be privatised to help it cope with a projected 25 per cent increase in the volume of traffic using the M6 around Birmingham.

Geoff Inskip, Centro's chief executive, suggested putting it back into public hands, telling the FT: "To deal with that we would need to build a new motorway but why do that when we have a parallel motorway that is being underutilised?"

The route's concession ends in 2054.

Macquarie, which owns the road's manager, Macquarie Atlas Roads, declined to comment.

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