A consortium comprising Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and a fund managed by DWS Group (DWS) has completed the acquisition of the Ermewa Group, a subsidiary of the French state transport and railway operator SNCF Group.

The transaction involved the sale of shares accounting for 100% of Ermewa Holding’s capital, as well as voting rights and its subsidiaries.

The deal was concluded after the completion of a consultation with employee representative bodies within Ermewa and SNCF.

In addition, the acquisition obtained approval from the European Commission and the French Minister of the Economy, Finance, and the Recovery.

Ermewa has been purchased by DWS and CDPQ on an equal-share, joint-control basis.

SNCF chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou said: “The sale of Ermewa is fully in line with the SNCF Group’s strategy to become a world leader in sustainable mobility for passengers and goods. Ermewa, which remains an important commercial partner of SNCF, will benefit from the support of long-term partners, ensuring the sustainability of the company’s activity.”

“This operation leads to a reduction of the SNCF group’s net debt by around $3.73bn (the price received for the sale of the shares, added to the Ermewa’s own debt, which will be assumed by the new shareholders) and will help achieve the objective of maintaining the SNCF group’s financial trajectory.”

Ermewa provides freight railcars and tank containers leasing services and owns a fleet of 100,000 assets.

In April this year, SNCF’s board of directors gave approval to enter exclusive talks with the consortium for the sale of Ermewa Holding.

The clearance by the board followed a competitive auction procedure.