SHREWD INVESTMENT: Lancashire County Council pension fund bids for Eurostar stake

Travel: Eurostar passenger numbers are up
Travel: Eurostar passenger numbers are up
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Lancashire County Council’s pension fund has been shortlisted to buy the Government’s £400m stake in Eurostar.

The fund, which provides and manages pensions for thousands of council workers, has a track record of shrewd investments.

The outcome of the Eurostar bidding process is due to be confirmed soon and we won’t be commenting further at this point.

The pension fund made it on to the final list of bidders which also included Canada’s Caisse de Quebec and the UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Also understood to be in the running are private equity firm 3i and Predica, part of French bank Credit Agricole.

The UK has a 40 per cent stake in Eurostar, which the Chancellor has put up for grabs.

County council chiefs were today not giving much away about the prospect of county pensioners owning a stake in Eurostar.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council, which manages the Lancashire County Pension Fund, said: “We’re continually seeking secure investment opportunities that ultimately benefit both the pension fund and taxpayers.

“The outcome of the Eurostar bidding process is due to be confirmed soon and we won’t be commenting further at this point.”​​

The Lancashire County Pension Fund has around 150,000 members and is worth around £5.5billion. It has investments – some cotroversial – in British American Tobacco, which manufactures more than 200 brands worldwide, Philip Morris International, makers of Benson and Hedges and Marlboro, and others including drinks company Diageo, which produces a host of brands including Guinness, Smirnoff Vodka, Gordon’s Gin, Baileys and Blossom Hill wine.​

Last year it completed the acquisition of the multi-let Walton Summit Industrial Estate near Preston for £7.8 million. It bought the site from Anglesea Capital and Hudson Advisors, reflecting a 7.3 per cent initial yield.

Channel Tunnel high-speed rail company Eurostar increased passenger numbers and sales revenue last year.

The company carried 10.4 million passengers in 2014 - up three per cent on the year before.

The figure took the total number of passengers to more than 150 million since the service started just over 20 years ago.