Eurostar in close talks with lenders over debt over £ 400million

Eurostar is in urgent talks with its lenders to avoid collapse as the deadline for repaying its £ 400million debt draws near.

The number of passengers on Eurostar has fallen 95% since March, as coronavirus restrictions hit international travel.

The service currently only provides one service per day to Paris and Amsterdam due to ongoing border controls.

The operator convinced its banks, including Santander and France Agricole, to lend it hundreds of millions of pounds. The loan is due to be repaid by June with a 12-month extension option, but that would require Eurostar to adhere to strict covenants.

Eurostar is currently in talks to secure vital funding by focusing on restructuring its loans, the Sunday Telegraph reported. The company lobbied the French and British governments for a bailout, but it has yet to bear fruit.

The company is 60 percent owned by the French national railway company SNCF. The UK government sold its 40% stake in the company to private firms for £ 757.1million in 2015.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Eurostar “is not our business to be saved” but added “We are very, very keen that Eurostar survives, and we will wait to see the plan. [from state rail firm SNCF]”.

SNCF chief Jean-Pierre Farandou told the Financial Times last week that the operator was in advanced talks to secure aid from the UK and France.

“We are getting closer to the time when Eurostar will have real cash flow problems … By next month we have to conclude these discussions.”

Today, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “It is essential that the government step up and play its role in creating a bridge to save Eurostar service.”

“They must work with their French and Belgian counterparts, as well as with financiers, to save this essential link which is a viable and green operator registered in the UK and supporting over 3,000 UK jobs.”



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