Akiem Group | The Caisse confirms its interest in an SNCF subsidiary

The Caisse de depot et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has started exclusive negotiations with SNCF and German group DWS for the sale of the Akiem group, the institution confirmed in a press release on Monday morning. Akiem is the leader in the freight locomotive rental market in France and Europe.

Posted at 10:32 am

Andre Dubuc

Andre Dubuc
The press

The terms of CDPQ’s offer have not been publicly disclosed.

The business daily The Echoes leaked the Caisse’s interest in Akiem last week. He claimed SNCF had solicited bids from bidders who said the subsidiary was worth between 2.5 and 3 billion euros (between 3.2 and 3.9 billion Canadian dollars).

Akiem reported 2021 sales of 220 million euros (about 280 million Canadian dollars) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about 150 million euros (almost 200 million Canadian dollars).

The company has a fleet of over 600 locomotives, 46 passenger trains and around 250 employees. The Caisse pointed out that 75% of Akiem’s ​​fleet is electric.

“Akiem offers a sustainable answer to the challenge of decarbonizing transportation – a solution that appealed to us from the start,” commented Emmanuel Jaclot, senior vice president and head of infrastructure. Akiem serves 80 customers in 21 countries.

Ownership of Akiem is shared equally between SNCF and DWS.

Prior to acceptance, CDPQ’s offer will be subject to the consultation procedures in place within the SNCF Group and Akiem. The competition authorities will also have their say.

“We are excited at the prospect of a commitment from the CDPQ, which would allow Akiem to continue its investments to support its long-term growth in Europe in the locomotive and passenger train rental markets,” said Fabien Rochefort , Chairman of Akiem -Group.

“Due to its size and its positioning along the entire value chain, especially maintenance, Akiem has significant competitive advantages to benefit from the expected growth of the locomotive rental market across Europe,” said Emmanuel Jaclot, first vice president and head of infrastructure at CDPQ, in the same press release.

Last year, the Caisse acquired Ermewa, another subsidiary of the French railway company. It is also co-shareholder of Eurostar with the SNCF.

The Caisse loves France

The Caisse’s appeal for French companies is not limited to the SNCF. The asset manager of public pension and insurance plans has doubled its investments in France to almost 15 billion euros (about 20 million Canadians) in five years, the French daily underlined last May.

“We have strong ambitions in Europe and especially in France. We have a real interest in putting capital there,” entrusted boss Charles Emond at the time echoes.

His investments in France have seen ups and downs, like his stake in the Eurostar train, which required a capital injection, or the $1.5 billion fall in value of his investment in Alstom in just a few months.

With the Canadian Press

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