The SNCF and Eurotunnel have teamed up to acquire Veolia Cargo, the rail freight businesses of the Veolia group.
Veolia Cargo, Europe’s leading private rail freight operator, has a particularly strong presence in Germany, Benelux and France. Consisting of 20 subsidiaries, it employs nearly 1,200 people and reported revenue of €188 million in 2008.
Groupe SNCF has taken over the rail companies based in Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, while Groupe Eurotunnel is acquiring the French branch of Veolia Cargo (Socorail, Veolia Cargo France, Veolia Cargo Link and CFTA Cargo).
A promising acquisition for SNCF
The transaction further strengthens SNCF’s rail network in Europe, especially in the Netherlands and Germany, where Veolia Cargo is the leading private operator, notably through its subsidiary Rail4Chem.
Pierre Blayau, Deputy CEO of SNCF and head of the SNCF-Geodis division, said: “This acquisition is part of our drive to develop rail freight, notably by intensifying international links for full train loads in Europe. For example, we will be able to directly operate trains between Rotterdam and France to meet the growing needs of our customers in this area.”
Eurotunnel steps up rail freight development
The activities acquired in France by Europorte 2, Eurotunnel’s specialist rail freight subsidiary, cover a broad and integrated range of services, including domestic and international rail freight traffic, local freight services on secondary lines, and services for industry.
These activities are complementary to and non competitive with Eurotunnel’s existing services. The new activities will support growth in the group’s rail freight business. In 2008, with a workforce of roughly 600, they generated revenues of around €50 million.
Jacques Gounon, Chairman and CEO of Eurotunnel, commented: “I am very pleased that our offer, presented in partnership with the SNCF group, was selected by Veolia. It marks a decisive step in the development of Europorte 2 and the sustainable growth of Groupe Eurotunnel. From a strategic point of view, the rail freight sector holds great potential for the future, particularly in light of environmental considerations.”
The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the year, following approval from the competition authorities.