This article is about the company. For the tunnel it operates, see Channel Tunnel.
Groupe Eurotunnel SE
Societas Europaea
Traded as Euronext: GET
Industry Rail transport
Founded 1986
Headquarters Paris, France
Key people
Jacques Gounon (Chairman and CEO)
Services Operation of Channel Tunnel infrastructure; freight rail transport; car shuttle train services
Revenue 1,207 million (2014)[1]
€334 million (2014)[1]
Profit €57.1 million (2014)[1]
Total assets €7.363 billion (end 2014)[1]
Total equity €1.758 billion (end 2014)[1]
Number of employees
3,959 (end 2014)[1]
Subsidiaries Europorte
GB Railfreight

Groupe Eurotunnel SE manages and operates the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France including the vehicle shuttle services, and earns revenue on other trains (DB Schenker freight and Eurostar passenger) through the tunnel. It is listed on both the Euronext London and Euronext Paris markets, and was listed on the London Stock Exchange until 19 July 2012.[3][4] The company is based in Paris.

The railway operation has 50.45 kilometres (31.35 mi) of double track railway in the main tunnels, plus extensive surface-level terminal facilities at Folkestone in the UK and at Coquelles near Calais in France; the operation is entirely self-contained, with connections near the two terminals to the respective national railway networks. Signalling and electric traction supply at 25 kV AC are also under Eurotunnel control.

Train operation consists of shuttle trains conveying cars and coaches and other trains conveying heavy goods vehicles between the two terminals. Other trains using Eurotunnel infrastructure are operated by the respective owners.


The company was formed on 13 August 1986 with the objective of financing, building and operating a tunnel between Great Britain and France.[5]

The company awarded a contract for the construction of the tunnel to TransManche Link (TML). The tunnel cost around £9.5bn to build, about double TML's original estimate of £4.7bn.[6] The tunnel was financed partly from investment by shareholders and partly from £8bn of debt, and was officially opened on 6 May 1994 by HM Queen Elizabeth II and President François Mitterrand.[5] In its first year of operation the company lost £925m because of disappointing revenue from passengers and freight, together with heavy interest charges on its £8bn of debt.[7]

In April 2004, a dissident shareholder group led by Nicolas Miguet succeeded in taking control of the board. However, in February 2005 Jean-Louis Raymond, the Chief Executive appointed after the boardroom coup, resigned and Jacques Gounon took complete control becoming Chairman and Chief Executive.[8]

In July 2006, shareholders voted on a deal which would have seen half the debt, by then reduced to £6.2bn, exchanged for 87% of the equity.[9][10] However this plan failed and on 2 August 2006 the company was placed into bankruptcy protection by a French court for six months.[11]

In May 2007 a new restructuring plan was approved by shareholders whereby Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup agreed to provide £2.8bn of long-term funding, the balance of the debt being exchanged for equity, and the shareholders agreed to waive the unlimited free travel and other perks that they had enjoyed.[12]

In June 2007 the company entered into a partnership through subsidiary Europorte 2 with the Port of Dunkirk relating to rail freight traffic; the company was to operate trains from Dunkirk to the Delta 3 logistics terminal at Dourges, and collaborate on container shipments to the UK using the port of Dunkirk via the tunnel.[13][14]

Following the restructuring, Eurotunnel was able to announce a small net profit in 2007, of €1 million, for the first time in its existence.[15][16] Half-year earnings for 2008 rose to €26 million (£20.6m). The net profit for 2008 was €40 million, despite the costs associated with traffic loss from September 2008 to February 2009 following a fire in the tunnel, and this allowed Eurotunnel to issue its first-ever dividend of €0.04 per euro value.[17][18]

The return to financial health allowed the company to announce on 28 October 2009 the anticipated voluntary redemption of some of its convertible debt. By anticipating to November 2009 the reimbursement of debt due in July 2010, it aimed to issue up to 119.4 million new ordinary shares and thus shore up its capital while reducing its debt load.[19]

In late 2009 the company and SNCF acquired Veolia Cargo, splitting the business between them. The company took over French operations: Veolia Cargo France, Veolia Cargo Link and CFTA Cargo are expected to be rebranded Europorte France, Europorte Link and Europorte proximity and become part of its Europorte freight business. Socorail has not been announced as being rebranded.[20]

In January 2010 the Port of Dunkirk awarded the company a seven-year concession to operate its 200 km (124 miles) railway system.[21]

In June 2010 the company acquired British railfreight company FirstGBRf for £31 million, to be merged into its Europorte.[22][23] On 11 June 2012 a bid by the company for three Channel ferries belonging to the former operator SeaFrance (in liquidation) for lease to another operator was accepted.[24]

On 11 June 2012 Eurotunnel acquired the assets of SeaFrance ferries Berlioz, Rodin and Nord Pas-de-Calais. They were chartered to start the MyFerryLink ferry company on 20 August 2012, owned by Eurotunnel.[25]

Operations and services

Car shuttle

Main article: Eurotunnel Shuttle

The company operates shuttle services with Eurotunnel Class 9 locomotives.


Main article: Europorte

Europorte operates freight trains in France, as well as the cross-channel freight services performed by Europorte 2 before 2009. Since the part acquisition of Veolia Cargo in 2009 it also provides rail transport services to industrial locations through Socorail.

Passenger services

Passenger services are operated by Eurostar, who has a practical monopoly on tunnel passenger services. Eurotunnel levies charges on Eurostar (currently £25 per passenger per return journey) and other operators for use of the tunnel.[26]

Deutsche Bahn planned to operate passenger trains between London and Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Cologne using the tunnel; planning started around 2005, but the plans were shelved in 2014, because of the special safety and security requirements in the tunnel.[27]

Rolling stock

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built   Notes 
 mph  km/h 
Class 9 Electric locomotive 100 160 58 Channel Tunnel 1993 Used for vehicle shuttles
Class 92 Electric locomotive 87 140 16[28] Channel Tunnel 1993 Used by Europorte Channel for freight services
Class 0001 Diesel locomotive 60 100 5 Rescue locomotive 1992
Class 0031 Diesel locomotive 31 50 12 Shunting 1990

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Groupe Eurotunnel SE 2014 Registration Document
  5. 1 2 "History". Eurotunnel. 1984-11-30. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  6. O'Connell, Dominic (2006-01-08). "Channel tunnel project has made Britain £10bn poorer". The Times. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  7. Ipsen, Erik (1996-04-23). "Bank debt causes £925m loss at Eurotunnel". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  8. Norris, Floyd (2005-06-11). "Chief of Eurotunnel quits amid turmoil on board". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  9. "Eurotunnel faces debt opposition". BBC News. 2006-06-04.
  10. Harrison, Michael (2006-07-14). "Eurotunnel blames Deutsche as it files for bankruptcy protection". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  11. "Eurotunnel gets court protection". BBC News. 2006-08-02. Retrieved 2006-08-03.
  12. "Eurotunnel 'saved' by investors". BBC News. 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  13. "Channel Tunnel freight deal follows crucial vote",, 1 July 2007
  14. "Eurotunnel and the Port of Dunkirk together on rail freight", (in French), 15 June 2007
  15. "Pour la première fois de son histoire, Eurotunnel est devenu bénéficiaire". Le Monde. 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  16. "PEurotunnel reports first profit". BBC News. 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  17. "Premier dividende pour les actionnaires d'Eurotunnel". Le Figaro. 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  18. "2008 Summary". Groupe Eurotunnel S.A. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  19. "Eurotunnel tourne la page de sa dette". Le Figaro. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  20. Eurotunnel completes Veolia Cargo takeover James Faulkner 1 December 2009
  21. "DUNKERQUE PORT choisit EUROTUNNEL pour l'exploitation et la maintenance de son réseau férré", (in French), 13 January 2010
  22. FIRSTGROUP PLC : Disposal of rail freight business PR Newswire Europe via COMTEX , 1 June 2010 , via
  23. Eurotunnel buys GBRf from FirstGroup 1 June 2010 ,
  24. Wright, Robert (2012-06-11). "Eurotunnel to take over SeaFrance vessels". Financial Times. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
  25. Smith, Peter C. (2012). Offshore Ferry Services of England and Scotland. Pen and Sword. p. 70. ISBN 9781848846654. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  26. "Interview with Eurostar Chief Executive" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  27. DB puts London - Frankfurt plans on ice, 19 February 2014
  28. "Eurotunnel's Rail Buy". Daily Express. 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-08-18.

Further reading

External links

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