French national rail company seeks bailout against virus

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                La compagnie ferroviaire publique française SNCF demandera l'aide du gouvernement et supprimera probablement des emplois après avoir été durement touchée par le verrouillage de Covid-19, a déclaré samedi son PDG.
            

Le lock-out commencé le 17 mars pour contenir la pandémie de coronavirus a déjà coûté 2 milliards d'euros à la firme, a déclaré à la radio France Inter Jean-Pierre Farandou, PDG de la SNCF.

On the grounds that the company had accumulated “too much debt” during the coronavirus crisis, the prospect of state aid supporting it “does not seem unreasonable”, he continued – adding that it would not be not “illogical” to cut jobs in response to the sharp drop in customer demand.

However, after France began to cancel its lockout on May 11, Farandou said 100,000 workers will work to ensure that “50 to 60 percent” of the country’s trains are running. With containment measures eased over time, he expects all French trains to be operational in early June.

The group has retained only 7% of its high-speed trains and 20% of regional services in service since mid-March.

While its economy went into recession with a 5.8% drop in its GDP in the first quarter, France did not hesitate to bail out struggling national champions – including 7 billion euros for Air France and 5 billion for Renault.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

            

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