Among the bidders is Hong Kong billionaire Mr Li Ka-Shing's company Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI), which is 85% owned by Hutchison Whampoa, a company chaired by Li. Another bidder is GB Speedrail, a consortium consisting of Eurotunnel, Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners, M&G Infracapital, Britain's Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), and the infrastructure arm of France's Caisse des Depots et Cosignations (CDC).

hs1.jpgA consortium of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure, 3i and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is also thought to have submitted an offer along with a Canadian partnership of Borealis, the infrastructure investment arm of Ontario Municipal Employees, and the Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan.

London Continental Railways, the state-owned company responsible for HS1, is overseeing the bidding process as the British coalition government looks to sell the link which opened in November 2007 at a cost of £6 billion for between £1.5 and £2 billion to raise cash to reduce its estimated budget deficit of £155 billion.