London Tunnels shifts listing to Amsterdam, ditching London plans

London Tunnels shifts listing to Amsterdam, ditching London plans
credit: bloomberg

London (Parliament News) – London Tunnels, which aims to convert abandoned underground tunnels into a visitor attraction, opted to list in Amsterdam instead of London to raise £30m.

London Tunnels, which seeks to convert an abandoned underground web into a visitor attraction, has withdrawn projects to float in the capital, instead opting to list in Amsterdam.

Why Did London Tunnels Choose Amsterdam Over London?

The company strives to make the Kingsway exchange tunnels, a web of 8,000 sq metres under Holborn in central London, into a unique attraction that will obtain 2 million visitors a year. The group announced that it hoped to expand £30m by listing on Euronext Amsterdam, stating it could make the most of the size and hierarchy of the equity and capital markets of Europe by tilting in the Dutch capital.

The finding comes after the company sent reports to the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in January summarising its intention to float in the capital.

At the time, its chief executive, Angus Murray, stated: “This unique set of tunnels, owned by a British company, built by the British government, for the defence of Britain, can further enhance London’s reputation as a leading tourist destination, should be listed in London.”

Why Did London Tunnels Abandon LSE for Euronext Amsterdam?

The change of heart by the group is the latest blow to the LSE after several high-profile players opted to list in Europe and the US ahead of London in recent months. In May, the Paddy Power owner, Flutter, revealed its decision to switch its immediate listing to New York, while the UK chip designer Arm opted to list on Wall Street last August after the administration failed to convince it to float in London. However, this has been partly compensated by big players such as the fashion retail business Shein and Raspberry Pi promoting plans to list on the LSE.

What History Lies Beneath Holborn’s Kingsway Tunnels?

The Kingsway tunnels were constructed in the early 1940s to shelter up to 8,000 individuals during the Blitz but were never utilised for this purpose. Instead, the Special Operations Executive, liable for organising espionage and sabotage functions in German-occupied Europe, moved in during the final two years of the war and is thought to be the motivation for the Q branch in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.

The tunnels later boarded the first secure transatlantic telephone cable, which operated a hotline that linked the White House and the Kremlin during the Cold War, before the license was transferred to British Telecom (BT) in 1981.

London Tunnels has arranged to buy the site from BT next year and plans to open the attraction in 2027, including shows celebrating the history of the tunnels, as well as reinstating the city’s most profound London bar, which closed in the 1980s.

However, the float prospectus lists several risk factors for the scheme, including the caution that plans could be hindered if it cannot get the full planning approval it need. Last month, it confirmed the planning green light from the City of London Corporation but is still awaiting scheduling signoff from the London borough of Camden.

The list also contains risks around whether the structural virtue of the tunnels is affected by their age, the opportunity that the removal of asbestos from the underpasses may take longer than expected and that the business may be unable to complete the acquisition of the leasehold on the approved date of 30 June next year. Explaining its determination to move the listing, London Tunnels stated it could meet the £20m to £30m required over the first few years of development. It added that it would then look to grow a further £120m in debt and equity to drive the tunnels operational.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.