Since the pandemic Eurostar’s revenues have plummeted from €1.1bn to €208m in 2020, and fears are growing that the company is on the verge of bankcruptcy.
The British government has previously inisted that Eurostar “is not our company to rescue,” and the company should look to their shareholders and the French state backed rail firm.
France owns 55% majority stake inn Eurostar via the state owned railway SNCF, and Belgium hold 5%.
The UK government sold their stake in the company in 2015 to pay off debts, so therefore Eurostar is not a British company, but French.
The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in February, that the government will not take the lead in rescuing Eruostar as it is majority owned by France.
Shapps told MPs in the Commons that the government are “very keen for Eurostar to survive,” but insisted “it’s not our company,” as the French state rail company SNCF own 55%.
Shapps previously gave evidence to the Commons Transport Select Committee and said the UK will be “as helpful as possible.”
Shapps said, “We don’t own the shares, so, to state the obvious, it is the shareholders’ problem to resolve.
“We’ll be as helpful as possible but it’s not for us to take over their issue.
“You’ve got 55% ownership by the French state. It’s not just any old shareholder.”
He added, “The solution will be found. I don’t think there’s any world in which we cease to have that connection up and running in the future when indeed we’re all able to travel again.”
Eurostar are in financial “peril” and are fast “running out of time” to find an urgent cash injection or will fae going to the wall.
Eurostar has already borrowed €450m and received a €197m cash injection from the owners, aftre having a 95% fall in demand since the start of the pandemic.
The cross-Channel company have £400m of loans to repay by June, which could be extended and Eurostar are pleading with the UK to offer some rescue funds.
But a British government official told the Financial Times, “The tunnel and the ruling stock are there.
“Someone would take them on, even if the company went to the wall.
“There’s no appetite for bailing them out at all.”
Guy Shone, CEO of ExplainTheMarket.com told Euronews in February that Eurostar are running out of time to save the company and warned they are “in peril.”
Shone said, “Passenger numbers are way down, down well over 90% since March 2020.
“So they are looking for financial life support, the same financial life support that has been offered to other industries that have been disproportionately ravaged by the Covid restrictions.”
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