Fret SNCF to be divided into two new companies from 2025
Fret SNCF will be split into two entities at the end of 2024, New Fret and New Maintenance. This is a consequence of the European Commission’s investigation into the French national rail freight company.
The two entities will be called New Fret and New Maintenance, according to French newspaper L’Usine Nouvelle. New Fret will retain 80 per cent of Fret SNCF’s operations. The transition process will last until July 2024, during which the companies left out can reorganise and find alternatives for their transport needs. New Maintenance, as the name suggests, will pick up maintenance activities.
The EC’s investigation against Fret SNCF
The investigation launched by the Commission found that Fret SNCF saw a total debt cancellation of 5,3 billion euros and a recapitalisation of 170 million euros by its mother company SNCF. This, the EC says, constitutes state aid, as SNCF is owned by the French government. And this state aid distorted fair competition in the rail freight market.
Fret SNCF was given two options: accept the debt and close up shop or create a new entity losing part of its operations but also getting rid of the debt. The French government chose the latter before the EC made an official decision, and New Fret and New Maintenance are the products of this restructuring. Job losses are expected to impact up to 500 people.