SNCF Group and DWS Group have begun exclusive discussions with Canadian pension fund CDPQ on the proposed sale of freight locomotive lessor Akiem.

This move follows a competitive auction process.

CDPQ’s offer is subject to approval from competition authorities’ and consultation with employee representative bodies within SNCF and Akiem.

SNCF Participations subsidiary holding firm TLF and DWS’ investment fund Eurotraction have an equal stake in Akiem, which offers freight locomotive leasing services in France and Europe.

Based in France, Akiem manages a fleet of more than 600 locomotives and 46 passenger trains, with around 250 employees.

The firm provides a range of rolling stock and value-added leasing solutions, as well as industrial and maintenance solutions.

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By GlobalData

With seven international offices, Akiem delivers local expertise to more than 80 customers in 21 countries.

The company generated revenues of around €220m and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of about €150m last year.

SNCF Group financial strategy deputy CEO Laurent Trevisani said: “This plan to sell Akiem is fully in line with SNCF Group’s strategy to become a global leader in sustainable mobility for people and merchandise, with the rail industry as a core business and two strategic assets: Geodis and KEOLIS.

“Once the definitive agreements are concluded, this transaction will provide financing for our core activities and the Group’s future growth while accelerating debt reduction.”

In February 2020, Akiem announced the purchase of Macquarie Europe Rail’s rolling stock leasing business.