The new board of directors of Eurotunnel, the company that operates the Channel Tunnel, is set to include the European head of Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners (GSIP), Philippe Camu.
Camu will be joined by Huges Lepic, who manages the merchant banking division of Goldman Sachs in Europe and is responsible for private equity and distressed investments across Europe. The new board of directors also includes Patricia Hewitt, former UK secretary of state for health and a director of British Telecom. Hewitt, a member of the Labour party for 27 years, has recently been suspended by the party in connection to a lobbying scandal.
The new board of directors will have to be approved by shareholders at an annual shareholders meeting on March 26th.
GSIP became Eurotunnel’s principal shareholder last September when it exchanged its subordinated deferred equity securities for shares in Eurotunnel, following the Channel Tunnel operator’s complex debt restructuring. It currently holds 17 percent of Eurotunnel, the operator said in a statement.
Eurotunnel chairman and chief executive Jacques Gounon hailed Goldman’s arrival as principal shareholder as “excellent news for the group”, adding that “it will be a real asset in the pursuit of our upcoming strategic developments”.
One of those “strategic developments” could be Eurotunnel’s bid for the privatisation of the UK’s High Speed 1 rail link, the country’s only high-speed rail connection between London and the Channel Tunnel. Gougnon publicly expressed his interest in bidding for the asset, also known as the Channel Tunnel Link, in the summer of 2009.
In its recent results presentation for 2009, Eurotunnel reported a profit of €1.4 million, the second year in a row it turned a profit. However, 2009’s results represented a big drop from the €34 million it generated in 2008. This was partly due to a fire in the tunnel in late 2008 which affected services until February 2009 as well as the disruption caused by the snow last December.