Train owners ship millions offshore

09 May 2013

Rolling stock companies sent millions of pounds in dividends offshore last year – money which, says ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan, ‘should have been reinvested in Britain’s railways, not shipped offshore and out of the country’.

· Angel Trains paid £44.8 million to its five owners through a holding company in Jersey called Willow Bidco.

· Eversholt Rail, whose ultimate parent company is based in Luxembourg, paid £40 million to its three backers,3i Infrastructure, Star Capital and the infrastructure arm of Morgan Stanley.

· Porterbrook has not yet published its accounts but it is owned by a company based in Jersey and is expected to send a similar sum abroad.

The three companies have delivered more than £700 million in dividends through offshore holding companies since 2008.

The three rolling stock companies, which were set up in 1994 ahead of the Conservative government’s break-up of British Rail, lease passenger trains to operators such as First Group and Stagecoach, as well as freight trains. They have had the market to themselves since Britain’s railways were privatised, an arrangement criticised by the Competition Commission concluded which concluded in 2009 that it could have cost the taxpayer as much as £100 million a year by overcharging operators to lease trains.

The railways cost the public purse about £1 billion a year under British Rail. That figure has soared to £4billion a year since privatisation.

‘Here’s another reason why,’says Mick Whelan.

Back »

By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information please refer to ASLEF’s Privacy Policy