Canada pensions linked to High Speed 1 sale

Canadian pension investors Borealis and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan have joined forces to bid for High Speed 1, the UK’s high-speed rail line, according to media reports. Competition is provided by at least two other bidding consortia.

Borealis, the infrastructure investment arm of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, is working with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on a bid for High Speed 1, the rail line running between London and the Channel Tunnel, according to various media reports.

Neither pension has commented on the reports linking it to the auction of High Speed 1 by investment bank UBS, which has a deadline of 17 August for the submission of offers. The 30-year concession to run the 110-kilometre line is expected to draw bids worth between £1.5 billion (€1.8 billion; $2.4 billion) and £2 billion.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority was bidding for High Speed 1 as part of a consortium that also includes UK-listed investment group 3i and the infrastructure investment arm of investment bank Morgan Stanley.

The other consortium in the running is understood to comprise Channel Tunnel operator Groupe Eurotunnel, Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners and Infracapital Partners, the infrastructure investment division of Prudential unit M&G.

High Speed 1 is currently owned 100 percent by London and Continental Railways, which in turn is owned 100 percent by the UK government’s Department for Transport. The line’s main source of income is the track access charges paid by Eurostar, which runs services between London, the south-east of England, Paris and Brussels. In addition, St Pancras, the London station from where services run through the Tunnel, earned more than £10 million last year as a retail outlet.