SNCF sold “silverware” again: AKIEM goes to Canada

SNCF sold “silverware” again: AKIEM goes to Canada

SNCF sold “silverware” again: AKIEM goes to Canada

Franck Besnard, managing director Akiem. Credits Piotr Chamczyk/Kolejwizja
In 2008, the French state railway SNCF established Akiem to offer heavy locomotive leasing for liberalised rail freight transport. Recently, the French state called on SNCF to reduce debt by selling subsidiaries. Therefore, with validity from December 9, 2022, Akiem was transferred for EUR 800 million to the investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, CDPQ for short.
CDPQ is an institutional investor managing the assets of several public and semi-private pension funds, social security funds, casualty funds and property insurance funds in the Canadian province of Quebec.Founded in 1965, the company is the second largest pension provider in Canada after the Canadian Pension Plan.CDPQ previously owned shares in Bombardier, is now a shareholder in the rail manufacturer Alstom, so it is certainly also a good owner of Akiem.

So far, Akiem has focused on leasing locomotives from the French manufacturer Alstom and the Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, whose locomotives are now also sold by Alstom.

But on September 4, 2022, Siemens announced that Akiem intends to diversify its manufacturing profile. Akiem has ordered 65 Vectron AC and Vectron MS locomotives from Siemens Mobility. According to Siemens, the order is part of a framework agreement concluded in December 2021. The locomotives that have already been ordered are to be delivered from mid-2024. Akiem ordered 20 Vectron locomotives from Siemens Mobility last year, the manufacturer said further.With a turnover of almost EUR 220 million in 2021, a fleet of over 600 locomotives, 46 passenger trains and around 250 employees, Akiem is – according to its own statement – the leader of the European locomotive leasing and maintenance market.

Headquartered in France and eight offices in Europe, Akiem offers local expertise to more than eighty clients in twenty-one countries. The company has the largest fleet on the continent, 75% of which are electric vehicles, and this share is likely to increase in the coming years.The English railway language knows the term “dry leasing”.

This solution applies only to the payment for the use of the locomotive. But the rental company can earn better if it also offers services to the highest level of revisions and repairs. Therefore, Akiem combines its respective competences in the subsidiary Akiem Technik. In other words, Akiem also offers full service. This can be of particular interest to smaller private rail operators who then do not need to build their own extensive workshop skills.Some time ago, at the Polish railway fair TRAKO, Managing Director Franck Besnard explained to our editorial office the activities of Akiem as follows:

“Akiem is a European leader in locomotive leasing and traction solutions for rail freight in Europe. In this context, we finance both rolling stock and maintenance solutions for our clients. We provide our customers with turnkey solutions that allow them to have a flexible traction solution to suit their needs, and we provide financing and industrial maintenance. Thanks to this, our customers have rolling stock locomotives at their disposal, while avoiding financing and indebtedness, because we provide them with a leasing solution tailored to their needs.”

Freight car rental is also part of the Canadian fund

As early as October 21, 2021, SNCF sold another important stake in order to reduce debt.At that time, too, the pension fund from Quebec was a beneficiary together with the other institutional investor DWS.At that time, Ermewa was sold, a leading provider of freight car and tank container leasing services with a fleet of 100,000 vehicles serving more than 1,000 customers in 80 countries and with 40 international branches.The group specializes in designing, optimizing and managing strategic assets for the global supply chain.

DWS and CDPQ acquired Ermewa in equal parts and under joint control.

This was the fourth acquisition for the Pan-European Infrastructure III (PEIF III) fund managed by DWS. The transaction also underscores CDPQ’s continued commitment to rail mobility in Europe and internationally, SNCF said at the time.Hermann Schmidtendorf, Editor-in-Chief


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