HSBC In Finals Talks on Eversholt Sale

(Reuters) – HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.L) is in final price negotiations with a consortium of infrastructure funds on the sale of its rolling stock business, Eversholt, several people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Morgan Stanley (MS.N) Infrastructure, 3i Infrastructure (3IN.L) and Star Capital are in advanced talks to buy Eversholt, which owns one third of Britain’s rolling stock and for which HSBC expects to be paid some 2 billion pounds, the sources said.

“They are haggling over the price, they have to decide how much equity they put in,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity because details of the sale are confidential.

HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Star Capital declined to comment. A 3i Infrastructure spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

The rail unit has a UK fleet of over 4,000 train coaches and its sale follows the rationale of the divestments of the other two UK train leasing companies, as banks look to raise cash by disposing assets not central to their businesses.

In June 2008, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) agreed to sell its train leasing firm, Angel Trains, to a consortium led by Babcock & Brown — now Arcus Infrastructure — for an enterprise value of 3.6 billion pounds.

This was followed by the sale of the British rolling stock firm Porterbrook by Abbey National — now part of Santander (SAN.MC) — to a consortium of Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), LLoyds TSB (LLOY.L) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA)-sponsored Antin Infrastructure Partners for 2 billion pounds.

By Greg Roumeliotis