The UK government’s sale of the high-speed rail line connecting London to the Channel Tunnel is moving closer to the finish line, with the consortia that went through to a second round of bidding asked to submit binding offers by October 29, a source close to the deal said.
HS1: Four go
Other consortia include a team of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure, 3i Infrastructure and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority; a Canadian consortium of Borealis – the investment arm of Ontario Employees Retirement System – together with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; and Cheung Kong Infrastructure, the infrastructure vehicle of Asia’s wealthiest man, Li Ka-Shing.
HS1, which owns the railway stations and 110-kilometre track connecting London with the Channel Tunnel, is estimated to be worth between £1.5 billion (€1.8 billion; $2.3 billion) and £2 billion. It holds a 30-year concession to operate the high-speed rail link, and expects revenue of £263 million with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £135 million for the year through March 2011, according to Reuters.
A source involved in the deal had previously suggested that a preferred bidder announcement should take place in late autumn with the government targeting an end-of-year completion date for the deal. Swiss bank UBS is running the sale for the government, which originally spent some £5.7 billion to build HS1.