Cross-channel rail tunnel operator Eurotunnel and French state-owned railway company SNCF have bought Veolia Cargo, the rail freight subsidiaries of the European group Veolia.

Eurotunnel has acquired Veolia’s French subsidiaries, namely Socorail, Veolia Cargo France, Veolia Cargo Link and CFTA Cargo, while SNCF has taken over the subsidiaries based in Germany, the Netherlands and Italy.

SNCF deputy CEO and its Geodis division head Pierre Blayau said the acquisition would intensify international links for full train loads in Europe.

Eurotunnel chairman and CEO Jacques Gounon said the acquisition marks a decisive step in the development of Europorte 2, the subsidiary that has taken over Veolia’s French units.

Veolia had revealed in July that the two firms were bidding for its subsidiaries, which could cut its debt by €95m.

Its routes include a biodiesel fuel link between Rotterdam and Bitterfeld in Germany, a coal link between the Dutch port and Dortmund in Germany and a route to Rotterdam from Brescia in Italy.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

No financial details of the deal have been disclosed.