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Eurostar and Thalys plan to merge, with headquarters in Brussels
High-speed train operators Thalys and Eurostar are working on a merger, which will eventually see the brand name Thalys disappear. The new company will be headquartered in Brussels.
Eurostar is based in London and runs high-speed trains from the UK to Belgium, France and the Netherlands. It is majority-owned by France’s rail authority (SNCF) and 5% owned by Belgian Rail (SNCB). Thalys, with headquarters in Brussels, serves Belgium, Germany and Paris and is a joint venture between SNCF and SNCB. The Belgian rail owns 40%.
The brand new holding company will be majority-owned by SNCF, with SNCB having 18.5% of the share. The train will continue to operate under the Eurostar brand but will be based in Brussels.
“The challenge of climate change and Europe’s growing demand for eco-responsible and sustainable travel presents a great opportunity for both companies in terms of development,” said Thalys is a press statement when the merger was first announced in 2019.
“The combined excellence and unique expertise of Eurostar’s and Thalys’s colleagues would provide a powerful platform for the future growth of European high-speed rail and the solution to this growing demand.”
There are still many steps to go through before the merger is a done deal, not least of which is a proposal to the European Commission.