July 23, 2020 / 7:41 AM / 15 days ago

France to help railway firm SNCF with several billion euros - Le Figaro

FILE PHOTO: An employee of the SNCF (French state-owned railway company) wearing a protective face mask checks schedules at the Gare Saint Lazare railway station in Paris, on the first day mask usage is mandatory in public transport, after France begun a gradual end to a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - France will help state-owned railway company SNCF survive the coronavirus crisis by providing several billion euros, Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told daily Le Figaro on Thursday.

The government would help the company through a capital hike or an additional debt buy-back, Djebbari also said.

“SNCF has no cashflow problem. However, the state will help it by several billion euros,” Djebbari said.

Djebbari also said the government would expect in return a “high-level of economic, environmental and social performance” from SNCF.

Separately, Djebbari told France Info radio that the state also planned to boost rail freight in the country.

“Rail makes 9% of goods transport, we want to double that to 18% by 2030,” he said.

Reporting by Matthieu Protard;Dominique Vidalon, Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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