9 February 2004
BRUSSELS – Eurotunnel, the company in charge of the Channel Tunnel, announced major losses on Monday and called on its creditors to help reschedule its debt.
Eurotunnel said it made a EUR 1.9 billion loss in 2003 and said it will not survive if it cannot overhaul its massive debt.
The company has said it plans to cut the tariffs it charges rail operators, including the Eurostar service between Brussels and London, to use the tunnel in a last-ditch bid to boost business.
But it added that it would only be able to do that if its main creditors – the UK and French governments and a consortium of banks – could help it out by rescheduling its debt.
“Without a doubt, the Channel Tunnel would not have been built if we had known about these problems,” Eurotunnel’s Chief Executive Richard Shireffs told journalists on Monday.
The UK government immediately made it clear that it would not give Eurotunnel any more money.
“Whatever proposals may finally emerge, the government has made it clear that it will not put any public money into Eurotunnel,” a spokesman for the UK’s department of transport told the Reuters news agency.
If Eurotunnel is not able to overcome this latest in a long line of financial setbacks some shareholders are predicting that the company will file for bankruptcy in 2007.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news