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

FILE PHOTO: French Junior Minister for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari arrives to attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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