Eurostar has secured the funding necessary to keep its Channel Tunnel train service running following a catastrophic year that had the company teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
The company saw ridership plummet 95% during the pandemic as international travel restrictions and national lockdowns gutted its ridership. While many European nations such as France have developed generous financial support programs to help businesses during Covid, Eurostar’s ownership structure made it difficult to convince governments to come to its rescue.
The company was originally a joint venture between the U.K. and France, but the British government sold its shares to private investors. U.K. leaders have refused to participate in any kind of bailout scheme, while the French government did not want to be solely responsible for writing the whole check.
However, the company finally succeeded in cobbling together private money. The company will raise 20% of the money from selling stock, 60% through loans that are being guaranteed by investors, and 20% by restructuring current loans to reduce payments, according to AFP.
Meanwhile, the company is hoping to gradually increase service between the U.K. and France in the coming weeks. But that outlook remains complicated as new variants continue to play havoc with timetables for re-opening cross-border travel.