Concerns mount for suppliers to the Eurostar as the under pressure train firm teeters on the brink of collapse

Concerns mount for suppliers to the Eurostar as the under pressure train firm teeters on the brink of collapse

Since March 2020 Eurostar has lost 90% of its passengers due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions created by Covid-19 regulations.

With a £400m debt and loan payments due in June the rail company is facing collapse unless it can arrange a bail-out. The British Government has refused to help so far as it no longer owns a share of the business having sold its 40% to private investors in 2015. The main hope is the French Government who still holds a majority stake in the outfit with its national train operator SNCF who have suggested some form of fiscal help may be in the offing.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the firm may only be running one train a day to Paris and Brussels but it remained a vital link to the continent and must be kept from closure. “Considering the national importance of the service,” he said, “and the amount of cash it owes to suppliers it cannot be allowed to go bust. If that happens then suppliers will lose millions with no chance of recouping their losses. All major transport links create a huge amount of business through supporting contractors and companies.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the firm was not the Government’s to rescue in a statement in March and suggested the ball was in the SNCF’s court.

Eurostar said in a statement about its suppliers: “Our approach to procurement is inclusive and guided by our transnational heritage. We place a great emphasis on collaboration, transparency and fairness. We promote sustainability wherever and whenever possible, and the safety of our customers and collaborators is paramount to all we do. We believe in an ethical approach to doing business. Eurostar sources a wide variety of products and services, from maintenance equipment to software, from prepared meals to security services.”

Eurostar International Limited is an Appointed Representative of AWP Assistance UK Limited (trading as Allianz Global Assistance) which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Interestingly Eurostar has not released any promotional press releases since October last year and has remained quiet about any plans for this year suggesting the crisis has reached a critical point.

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