Eurostar to be privatised as UK government plans new sell off

Eurostar to be privatised as UK government plans new sell off

Buyers from around the world have been put on alert after the British government confirmed it will sell its 40 per cent stake in cross-channel train operator Eurostar.

The move is part of a winder privatisation plan outlined by the government, with the deal expected to net hundreds of millions of pounds.

Chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, said the government now hoped to raise £20 billion through the disposal of government assets over the next six years. 

Other assets which could face the chop during the programme include broadcaster Channel 4, and support services businesses such as Companies House, the Royal Mint, the Met Office and Ordnance Survey.

In the past, coalition ministers have maintained that the Eurostar stake would be retained.

The company, which is majority-owned by the French state rail firm, SNCF, more than doubled profits to £52 million last year.

The latest privatisation round was detailed as part of an updated national infrastructure plan set out by Alexander in a speech at the Institution of Civil Engineers.

During the speech he said the value of planned projects in Britain has now risen by 20 per cent to £375 billion, with more than a quarter to be provided with public money and the rest from the private sector.