Channel train operator gets bail-out

·1-min read

Cross-channel rail operator Eurostar has secured a STG250 million ($A455 million) rescue package after warning it was "fighting for its survival" due to the coronavirus crisis.

Eurostar says it has reached a financing agreement with its shareholders and banks.

This includes French state rail company SNCF, which is the company's majority shareholder.

The UK sold its Eurostar stake to private companies for in 2015, and the British government has resisted pressure to contribute to the bail-out.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs in February that the government was "very keen for Eurostar to survive" but insisted "it's not our company" and its difficulties were "the shareholders' problem to resolve".

Following the announcement of the rescue deal, chief executive Jacques Damas said: "Everyone at Eurostar is encouraged by this strong show of support from our shareholders and banks which will allow us to continue to provide this important service for passengers.

"The refinancing agreement is the key factor enabling us to increase our services as the situation with the pandemic starts to improve.

"Eurostar will continue to work closely with governments to move towards a safe easing of travel restrictions and streamlining of border processes to allow passengers to travel safely and seamlessly.

"Their co-ordinated actions and decisions are crucial to the restoring of demand and the financial recovery of our business."