Goldman Sachs has sold its 15 percent share in Groupe Eurotunnel to Atlantia in a deal worth nearly €1.1 billion.
The Italian developer has now become the largest shareholder in the listed operating company of the Channel Tunnel link between Britain and France. The acquisition price is equivalent to €12.40 per share of Getlink, the group previously known as Groupe Eurotunnel before a name change in November.
Getlink’s operations include three tunnels under the Channel and two terminals under a concession agreement ending in 2086. The links are responsible for the movement of more than 20 million passengers and about 25 percent of trade in goods between the UK and continental Europe each year. Getlink generated revenue of €1 billion last year and a six percent increase in EBITDA, which amounted to €526 million.
Getlink also operates private rail freight business Europorte and is developing the 1GW ElecLink interconnector between the UK and France. The £490 million ($677.3 million; €549.7 million) project is under construction and should begin operating in early 2020.
The sale to Atlantia concludes Goldman Sach’s interest in Getlink, following its initial equity investment in 2009. The firm’s ownership was held via its GS Global Infrastructure Partners I and GS International Infrastructure Partners I vehicles – an investment which came two years after Groupe Eurotunnel emerged from French bankruptcy protection following a restructuring of its debt, which had reached £6.2 billion.
Atlantia said its acquisition will not have any impact on its ongoing battle to acquire Spanish counterpart Abertis. The company’s €15 billion offer is competing against a €16.5 billion bid from German firm Hochtief, a subsidiary of Spain’s ACS, which Spanish regulators are currently examining.