EUR 5 billion fine looming over SNCF Fret
The decision was taken on the top level. Last week, French transport minister Clément Beaune said that the affiliate of the rail company SNCF dedicated to the transport of goods (Fret SNCF) will have to organise its own dismantling.
The reason is that the European Commission in Brussels declared the French government's debt cancellation from 2007 to 2019 as illegal. Thus, Fret SNCF could be obliged to refund EUR 5.3 billion - and a later recapitalisation of EUR 170 million.
The idea is now to create two new companies. One new company would keep the lion's share of its trains and wagons: 80% of the company’s turnover, 70% of its traffic and about 90% of its staff (approx. 5,000 railway workers). The new company would still be mainly controlled by SNCF.
A second company could be formed to run the regular block freight trains, which are chartered by single customers and today represent about 30% of SNCF Fret's traffic and 20% of the company’s turnover.
It is estimated that the split-up might cost about 470 current jobs. These companies would be new brands and would not take over the debt of their predecessor. (cd)