May 24, 2018 / 5:30 PM / a month ago

SNCF exploring sell-down of stakes in two subsidiaries - Les Echos

PARIS, May 24 (Reuters) - France’s state-run rail company SNCF is exploring selling down its stakes in two subsidiaries, hire car start-up Ouicar and car-sharing platform iDVroom, business newspaper Les Echos reported on Thursday.

Les Echos said SNCF had mandated investment bank Rothschild with testing the market and identifying potential investors.

A spokesman for SNCF said he could not immediately confirm the report and declined further comment.

Les Echos cited a source saying SNCF was prepared to cede control of the two subsidiaries but that there was no question of completely divesting from both.

SNCF paid 28 million euros ($32.8 million) for a 75 percent stake in Ouicar in 2015. Ouicar provides a platform for drivers to hire a car from private owners, rather than through hire car companies.

President Emmanuel Macron is locked in a battle with rail unions over his plans to create a leaner, more efficient SNCF that could better stand up to foreign competition once its monopoly ends.

Unions say the reform is a first step towards privatisation. Macron’s government says it has no plans to open the rail company up to private capital. ($1 = 0.8526 euros) (Reporting by Elizabeth Pineay; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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