Tuesday, 1 October 2013

That Eurostar 'private sector' bid for ICEC in full

Of mere passing interest, no doubt. 

A quick glance at wikipedia, here and here, reveals the following...  

Eurostar International Limited (EIL) is the parent company of the Eurostar service operating between London, Paris and Brussels. Eurostar was previously operated by three separate companies in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, but this structure was replaced by EIL as a new single management company on 1 September 2010. EIL is owned by London and Continental Railways (40%), SNCB (5%) and SNCF (55%).#

London and Continental Railways (LCR) is a company that was involved in the construction of High Speed 1 (HS1) in the United Kingdom. Originally established in 1994 as a private consortium to build HS1 under a contract agreed with the UK Government, it subsequently ran into financial difficulties and has been owned by the Department for Transport since 2009 

So Eurostar, 40% owned by HMG is allowed to bid for franchises, but DOR (100% owned by HMG) isn’t.

Of course DfT is perfectly happy for overseas state owned railways to run as many of Britain's trains as they want, whether passenger or freight.

Eurostar's ICEC bid partner, Keolis, is 56.7% owned by French railway SNCF.

None the less, Eye wonders at what percentage point does UK state involvement in running a competitively tendered franchise suddenly become unpalatable? 

Answer from the Treasury and DfT came there none...

UPDATE: Eye issues unreserved apology to Keolis!

According to a press release on the Keolis website from April 2012...

"SNCF increases its shareholding in Keolis to accelerate the next phase of the company’s development

"At the closing of this transaction, SNCF will hold a 70% stake of Keolis alongside a long term investment partner."

Eye wishes to apologise for misleading readers into thinking that the Keolis/Eurostar bid for ICEC might, in anyway, have been considered to be 'private sector'.