European Commission green lits Eurostar, Thalys merger
The European Commission earlier on Tuesday approved the proposed merger between Thalys and Eurostar, moving the process that was first announced in 2019 one step closer to finalisation.
As previously announced, the combined entity will be known as Eurostar. The holding company will be based out of Brussels, Belgium. Eurostar will operate close to 50 high-speed trains and provide services in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. SNCF will have a majority shareholding in the new company, with its Belgian counterpart SNCB taking a 18,5-percent stake.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurostar and Thalys were targeting a combined annual passenger volume of 30 million by 2030. However, the pandemic took a toll on the operators, with both Eurostar and Thalys requiring financial lifelines. The number of passengers on the Eurostar was down 35 percent last year to 1,637 million while Thalys moved 2,7 passengers in 2021. This, then, delayed the proposed merger between the two entities. The proces regained momentum last October.