A consortium of British and Canadian investors has agreed to acquire the governments stake of European railway Eurostar.
The consortium comprises Canadian pension funds Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and UK-based fund Hermes Infrastructure.
According to HM Treasury, the government agreed to sell Eurostar for £757.1m, including the sale of its preference shares for £172m to Eurostar. The two investors agreed to acquire the 40% stake in Eurostar for £585.1m. According to CDPQ, the Canadian investor and Hermes Infrastructure intended to own 30% and 10% of Eurostar, respectively.
Both investors said Eurostar would provide "stable and predictable" returns.
CDPQ invests globally in financial markets, equity and real estate, with an investment portfolio valued at over C$10bn (£5.22bn). Hermes Infrastructure, part of Hermes Investment Management, has a portfolio of £2.86bn with investment solutions including equities, real estate, multi-asset investments and alternatives.
Macky Tall, senior vice-president of Private Equity and Infrastructure at CDPQ, said: "Today we are investing in one of Europe's most efficient intercity transport systems. Alongside leading industry players, we are becoming partners of a highly strategic asset that will generate stable and predictable returns for our clients.
"This major investment is another opportunity for us to further build on our expertise in the transport sector, while broadening our footprint in the global marketplace. In terms of reliability and satisfaction, Eurostar is state-of-the-art and among the most enviable worldwide. It serves as a model for operational efficiency and we intend to be a partner in its growth for many years to come."
Hermes Infrastructure's head Peter Hofbauer said: "Eurostar is a high-quality asset providing a direct link between the UK and Europe that has historically offered attractive investment characteristics, including long-term stable and predictable cash flows. We look forward to creating a long-term partnership with SNCF and SNCB and other key stakeholders in relation to this important investment."
Eurostar's other shareholders are French railway company Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF) and Belgian railway company Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Belges (SNCB). They both currently own 55% and 5% of Eurostar respectively.
The treasury said SNCF and SNCB had the option - the "pre-emption right" - to acquire the government's 40% stake for a 15% premium to the agreed price of £585.1m, and confirmed closing of the sale to the Canadian and British investors was conditional on SNCF and SNCB not exercising the pre-emption right and on regulatory approval.