SNCF will still be in the red this year, but should be able to do without further state aid or additional transfers, believes its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jean-Pierre Farandou, in an interview at Figaro, published Tuesday, November 2.
“I fear that we are still in losses this year because of the third confinement” in the spring, explains Mr. Farandou. “At this stage, I am not asking for help from the state. We will borrow the equivalent of our deficit to meet current expenses ”, he adds.
The public group had benefited directly froma recapitalization of 4 billion euros of the State in 2020, intended for the network. He lost another 780 million euros in the first half of 2021, after losing 3 billion in 2020, but “Is in a rebound situation”, according to Farandou.
“Our logistician Geodis is one of the winners of the crisis” sanitary. “When the TGV’s lung is a little cold, the logistics lung works well and that makes the group breathe. This enabled us to cushion the effect of the crisis ”, he remarks.
“The road” as the main adversary
“To reduce our debt, we sold Ermewa, a freight wagon lessor, which was not a strategic asset very well”, also notes Mr. Farandou. The sale of Ermewa, finalized on October 22, will result in a net debt reduction of around 3.2 billion euros for SNCF. “Today, we do not envisage other disposals”, assures the leader.
Jean-Pierre Farandou also confirms the objective of financial balance in 2022, agreed with the State during the 2018 railway reform. “We will be in balance next year. To achieve this, we are working to develop turnover. We will not be very far from returning in 2022 to the level before the Covid “, he assures.
“And we are reducing our costs with savings plans”, he adds. “We have also postponed certain investments in rolling stock or IT. “ SNCF will also reduce the number of employees by “1.5% to 2% by not replacing all retirements”, he recalls.
If he recognizes that the arrival of competition is ” a shock “, Mr. Farandou considers that his main opponent is ” the road “, the objective being to double the share of rail in ten years. According to him, the SNCF “Will carry more passengers” if the market grows, even if it loses market share.