CDPQ is in talks to buy Akiem, a freight locomotive leasing company owned by French State railway operator SNCF and DWS.

In a joint statement, the companies said SNCF and DWS have agreed to enter into exclusive negotiations with CDPQ on the proposed sale of Akiem.

Akiem, which provides freight locomotive leasing services in France and Europe, recorded revenue of nearly €220m in 2021. The company has a fleet of over 600 locomotives, 46 passenger trains and some 250 employees.

The company has the largest fleet on the continent, of which 75% is electric, a share that is expected to increase in the coming years.

Emmanuel Jaclot, executive VP and head of infrastructure at CDPQ, said: “Akiem’s size and positioning across the entire value chain, including maintenance, gives it a significant competitive edge to benefit from the expected growth in the locomotive leasing market across Europe.

“With three-quarters of its fleet already operating on electricity, Akiem offers a sustainable response to the challenges of decarbonising transport – a solution that appealed to us from the start.”

Laurent Trevisani, deputy CEO of financial strategy at SNCF Group, 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.”

Hamish Mackenzie, the head of infrastructure at DWS, said since becoming a shareholder of Akiem in 2016, DWS has supported management’s strategic growth ambitions through its active asset management approach combined with the rail expertise of its partner, SNCF.

“Akiem’s success during our investment reflects the quality of its management team and their unrivalled track record in the European locomotive leasing market, as well as the quality of our long-term partnership with SNCF.”

Fabien Rochefort, the CEO of Akiem, said: “We are delighted with CDPQ’s commitment, which will allow Akiem to continue investing in support of its long-term growth in the European locomotive and passenger train leasing markets.

”As rail operators face rising demand for more environmentally friendly transportation in a complex environment, Akiem is providing its customers with rolling stock that is sustainable, solid and reliable.”

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