London Continental Railways could be broken up into three companies in the new year
The company responsible for the Channel Tunnel rail link may be broken up and sold off in the new year.
Chancellor Alistair Darling and transport secretary Ruth Kelly are expected to decide whether or not to privatise London & Continental Railways in early 2008.
The firm, which built the £5.7bn high-speed link between St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel, said a decision on its future would be made after the new rail line opens this month.
Rob Holden, chief executive of LCR, said: “After November 14, the restructuring will be our number one priority. Probably in the first quarter of 2008, the Secretary of State and the Chancellor will make some decisions.”
It is thought the most likely plan is for the company to be broken up into three parts, comprising the line itself, a 40% share in Eurostar and land around King’s Cross and Stratford.
The parts may then be auctioned off, making billions for the Treasury. Infrastructure funds, private equity groups and Middle and Far Eastern sovereign funds are thought to be the most likely bidders.
Treasury adviser Sir Adrian Montague tried to buy the company two years ago with backing from Goldman Sachs but Alistair Darling, then transport secretary, said there would be no sale before the rail link was completed.