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UK agrees sale of Eurostar stake
04 Mar 2015 13:01
Britain agreed to sell its 40% stake in the Eurostar rail link for £585m to a consortium comprising the Canadian public pension fund Caisse de Depot du Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and the British asset manager Hermes.
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The UK government announced the deal for its stake in the high-speed rail link between Britain and continental Europe today.
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This follows a competitive sale process begun in October by finance minister George Osborne.
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Mr Osborne said the price tag had "exceeded expectations". According to 2013/14 government accounts, the share capital value of the stake was £325m.
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The deal is part of a trend for institutional investors such as pension funds and insurers to push into infrastructure projects as they are squeezed by low interest rates globally.
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Such investments are high-yielding and match the long-term liabilities in pension and savings schemes, but a lack of attractive schemes has pushed up prices.
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The UK finance ministry said it expected the deal to be completed by the second quarter of 2015.
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The consortium, Patina Rail, will result in CDPQ, which has an infrastructure investment portfolio valued at more than $10 billion, owning a 30% stake in Eurostar.
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Hermes Infrastructure, part of British-based fund Hermes Investment Management, will take a 10% stake.
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