Eurotunnel could go down under

Contributed by editor on May 17, 2006 - 07:29 PM



Australia's largest investment bank has raised a $700 million war chest, fuelling speculation it will buy cash strapped Eurotunnel.

Macquarie Bank shares were frozen at $69.65 on Monday night as rumours circulated the bank might join Goldman Sachs to buy Eurotunnel. The bank sought a trading halt to announce a capital raising, but it has not said how the money will be used.

Chief financial officer Greg Ward said the money "would be used to facilitate the growth of the bank's international expansion opportunities".

The bank has built its reputation by holding assets on its balance sheet for minimal time before placing them in funds. Fees generated by the funds' performance have fed the bank's growth. But chief executive Allan Moss said on Tuesday more assets would sit in unlisted funds and the bank would use more of its own money to fund deals.