Goldman Sachs is set to become the biggest shareholder in Eurotunnel by taking a 21.2 percent stake in the operator.
The investment bank’s flagship infrastructure fund has told Eurotunnel that it intends to convert its bonds into shares.
Jacques Gounon, Eurotunnel chairman and chief executive, said the “long-anticipated arrival of infrastructure specialist GSIP will be a real asset in the pursuit of our upcoming strategic developments”, including a possible bid for the high-speed rail line from St Pancras to the tunnel.
The presence of a large institutional investor is a significant change for Eurotunnel, whose shareholder register has previously been dominated by small, private shareholders since shortly after it was set up in 1986.
The presence of Goldman Sachs is likely to make a significant difference to how Eurotunnel manages itself. Over the past decade, managers have had to deal with hundreds of thousands of small French investors.
Their interests have prompted Jacques Gounon to push for the start of dividend payments following the 2007 restructuring.
“Having the shareholdings in larger blocks with institutional investors involved does make strategic planning easier,” the company said last night.