PARIS May 16 France said it would submit a 3.6
billion euro ($4.9 billion) plan to upgrade the country's
motorways to EU competition watchdogs on Friday involving
companies Vinci, Eiffage and Abertis
After lengthy negotiations, the companies agreed with the
French government late last year to bear the cost of the
investments in exchange for an average three-year extension of
Vinci has said it would inject around 2 billion euros and
Sanef 700 million, leaving Eiffage with 900 million. French
Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said he expected the
upgrade work to create some 15,000 jobs.
The plan is a much-awaited boost to France's builders, which
have been hit hard by deficit-reduction measures. Revenue from
public works in France had been expected to drop 21 percent this
year, with the sector seen shedding 12,000 jobs out of a total
The EU review aims to ensure that the motorway plan is not
considered to be a form of state aid or unfair competition by
Brussels is expected to rule on the plan within about two
months, according to a source familiar with the matter. Both
Eiffage and Vinci have said they hope to launch the upgrade work
in the first half of this year.
Neither Vinci, Eiffage nor Sanef could be immediately
reached for comment.
Abertis told Reuters in an interview earlier this year that
Sanef would need a capital hike of about 400 million euros to be
able to support the investment.
For the plan to benefit all of France's construction
industry, the government had said 55 percent of the upgrade work
must go to small and medium businesses that are not subsidiaries
of Eiffage, Vinci or Abertis.
($1 = 0.7291 Euros)
(Reporting by Natalie Huet and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by