Network Rail’s chief executive has said it has received interest from around 250 individuals and organisations over buying parts or all of the rail body’s commercial property.
Speaking at a rail event in London today, Mark Carne said the sale of its commercial estate was a fantastic opportunity for investors and the client had already received interest from across the globe.
Mr Carne said: “This is not an advert; I would say this is the best commercial property to come on the market in years – it’s a fantastic opportunity.”
The comments came after Sky News reported earlier today that buyout tycoon Guy Hands was plotting a £1bn bid to take over Network Rail’s commercial property portfolio.
Mr Carne laughed off the reports, saying the £1bn price tag was far too low.
Responding to a question from CN on the reports, Mr Carne said: “There have been over 250 people and organisations from across the world interested in bidding for it.
“Genuinely, if Sky thinks they will get it for £1bn, they won’t be winning the bid.”
Last year Network Rail announced it would move forward with plans to look for buyers for its estate as part of a bid to free up funds.
Mr Carne said this included 5,500 under-arch sites in London, as well as 1,000 outside of the capital.
The outgoing Network Rail boss said the sell-off would provide significant funding for new rail projects.
He said: “We will take that money and invest it in better railway projects, and better rail projects will see expert property companies come and regenerate urban centres where these arches often are, which is a win-win for everyone.”