This man now owns one in three UK trains. Who is he?

The not-so-fat controller of UK trains


Meet Li Ka-Shing.

He’s been the richest person in Hong Kong for 17 years, according to Forbes.

He’s intermittently been the richest person in Asia.

The 86-year-old is a self-made billionaire who’s amassed a net worth of $33.5bn. (Not all for him, though – he’s a keen philanthropist.)

His business interests span property, energy and oil, trading, technology, mobile connectivity, ports, and, well, probably even more than that to boot.

Forbes reckons he employs some 270,000 people in 52 countries.

And now he owns a load of British trains.

Almost one in three of them, to be exact.

Li Ka-Shing, the not-so-fat controller of UK trains

Train ticket

Li’s company CK Investments (CKI) has just bought Eversholt Rail, you see.

CKI apparently paid around £1bn, and will take on £1.5bn of Eversholt’s debt, according to The Telegraph.

Li and CKI will gain around 3,500 of Britain’s passenger trains and around 1,000 freight trains.

That works out at just under a third (28%) of the UK passenger train fleet, according to Eversholt’s website.

Eversholt is a rolling stock company, meaning it supplies UK rail companies with trains - effectively leasing them out.

Eversholt was, up until this deal, owned by 3i Infrastructure, Morgan Stanley and STAR capital.

The sale will generate around £385m for 3i Infrastructure, according to reports.

“While 3i Infrastructure generally aims to hold its core investments over the long-term, it will sell investments from time to time where this generates significant additional value for shareholders,” said Peter Sedgwick, chairman of 3i Infrastructure.

“It is in this context that we have taken the decision to sell our shareholding in Eversholt Rail.”

[Insert your own puns about being on the right track, the engines of success and having a good train of thought here.]


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Readers' comments (2)

  • Over the years, the Tories have done a fine job of flogging off our publicly owned infrastructure to foreign billionaires.

    Since rail privatisation, fares have gone up 400%, and the public subsidy to the rail industry has risen five-fold from £1bn to £5bn.

    It's nice to know that our taxes are being sent offshore to enrich foreign billionaires.

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  • While we prevent any British state public ownership,quite rightly, of course, of public services,train operating companies (-like East Coast, just handed back to the 'market', having been rescued,again , by state operation, and now perhaps, too closely tied with the West Coast Virgin so as to threaten a near monopoly).. but it is just a little curious, isn't it, that so much is part or fully owned by the German, French or Dutch STATE railways... oh yes and that 'RATP' branding on that London bus...isn't that the PARIS regional transport authority?

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