Trainline talks to Labour as Brexit raises Election fears


Alex Hawkes, Financial Mail on Sunday

Rail ticket website Trainline has been in talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour to try to head off threats to its business.

Trainline, which is owned by private equity firm KKR, said in its annual report that it was facing risks from Brexit and ‘current political uncertainties’.

It said it is ‘actively engaged’ with British and European governments, institutions and the Opposition to ‘attempt to neutralise or minimise these potential negative impacts on its business, staff, customers and business partners, while simultaneously prudently scenario planning’.

Rail plans: Trainline has been in talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour

Rail plans: Trainline has been in talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour

Trainline did not specify what risk Corbyn’s party poses, but the Labour leader has promised to nationalise the railways, which could change the way in which tickets are bought and sold.

The reference to talks with the Opposition is the latest sign of businesses engaging with the possibility of a Corbyn-led Labour government. Its party conference was a significantly bigger draw for lobbyists and businesses this year after June’s General Election put Labour within sight of power.

Customers bought £2.1 billion of tickets through in the year to March 2017. The site charges a fee for each booking, generating turnover for Trainline of £147 million and a profit of £32.6 million, virtually unchanged from last year’s £32.5 million.

KKR bought the firm in 2015 for £352 million from rival private equity firm Exponent, which had announced plans for a public listing. Run by Clare Gilmartin, Trainline has ambitions to expand into France, Italy and Germany.

The highest paid director, thought to be Gilmartin, was paid £805,000 last year.

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