Global Infrastructure, Eurotunnel and Allianz are among the frontrunners thought to be eyeing up the construction of Britain’s High Speed Two, after Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport, announced plans for the mega project to be sold to private investors to raise funds.
The proposed £33bn rail link between London and Manchester will be leased on a 30-year concession to recoup taxpayers’ investment, the minister announced.
He said private companies would be brought in to upgrade three stations – London Euston, Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street.
However he ruled out the use of private finance initiatives on the 250mph new line.
The Western investment funds that bid for High Speed 1, the £5.8bn rail link between St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel, are also favourites.
Other potential bidders include the consortium of Allianz, the BT pension scheme and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and a venture led by Groupe Eurotunnel and Goldman Sachs.
Other likely contenders include 3i Infrastructure, Babcock, Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, Macquarie and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
Last week Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese foreign minister, threw China’s hat into the ring.