The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, or ADIA, has teamed up with infrastructure funds operated by private equity firm 3i and Morgan Stanley to put together a £1.5 billion (Dh8.63 billion) bid to acquire the Channel Tunnel rail link.
The consortium is considering submitting an offer ahead of the August 17 deadline set by UBS, which handles the auction on behalf of London and Continental Railways, the channel reports on its website, citing people close to the situation.
ADIA did not comment on the issue so far.
The sale of the 110-km High Speed 1 (HS1) line, which links central London to the Channel Tunnel, will be the first major British transport infrastructure sale since airport operator BAA sold London’s Gatwick airport late last year.
ADIA bought a 15 per cent stake in Gatwick Airport earlier this year.
Britain began the sale of the rights to operate the country’s only high-speed railway in June, helping raise much-needed funds for the public purse.
Other bidders include Channel tunnel operator Groupe Eurotunnel which is working on a bid with Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners, its biggest shareholder, and with Infracapital, the infrastructure arm of Prudential unit M&G, another big shareholder.
The Channel Tunnel is a 50.5-km undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone near Dover in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France, passing beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover.