Canadian owners of HS1 sell high-speed line linking London and the Channel Tunnel to consortium of funds for over £3bn

 
Rebecca Smith
Channel Tunnel trains run from St Pancras International
Channel Tunnel trains run from St Pancras International (Source: Getty)

The Canadian owners of HS1, the high-speed railway connecting London to the Channel Tunnel, have sold it to a consortium advised by InfraRed Capital Partners and Equitix Investment Management.

InfraRed advised third party funds including HICL Infrastructure Company and the National Pension Service of the Republic of Korea for the deal.

HICL and the Equitix funds will acquire 35 per cent each, and the NPS funds managed by InfraRed acquire 30 per cent. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, though it's understood that the railway was sold for over £3bn. Previous reports had put the price tag at around £3.6bn.

Canadian giants Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan confirmed in December they were exploring strategic options after "a number of investment inquiries", and in January brought in Bank of America to explore a sale.

Read more: End of the line? HS1 owners bring in Bank of America to explore £3.6bn sale

HS1 operates the 109km line that runs from the capital to Folkestone in Kent, connecting St Pancras station with the Channel Tunnel.

It is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the track, as well as the four stations served by the route: St Pancras International, Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, and Ashford International.

Jo Taylor, senior managing director of Ontario Teachers, said:

HS1 has delivered significant economic benefits to the UK and has enabled the regeneration of a number of areas along the route. We are confident that HS1 will continue to prosper under its new ownership, while Ontario Teachers’ remain committed to the UK as an attractive destination for future investment.

Ben Loomes, managing partner and head of infrastructure, InfraRed, said: “We are very pleased to be investing in HS1, a strategically important and core UK infrastructure asset. We look forward to working with the management team and our partners to further build on the success that the business has enjoyed to date and facilitate the continued delivery of a high-quality service for passengers.”

Borealis and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan snapped up a 30-year concession for HS1 in 2010 from then-transport secretary Philip Hammond for £2.1bn to operate and manage the HS1 network. The railway line opened in 2007 and was transferred to government ownership in 2009.

Read more: HS1 owners are considering selling the high-speed rail line

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