Renfe has closed the purchase of 50% of the capital of the Czech railway company Leo Express, which operates services in different Central European countries, an operation that has the authorization of the Ministry of Finance, the Spanish operator reported this Friday in a statement.
This acquisition, which will allow Renfe to operate in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, and have the resources and licenses to access the German market, is part of the internationalization process of the Spanish operator.
The operation constitutes “a strategic business opportunity for Renfe, which seeks to establish alliances and open new business routes outside the national market,” the company highlighted.
The investment and shareholder agreements signed between the two companies contemplate a 50% capital increase in Leo Express, which is assumed by Renfe.
Leo Express is a private company that began operating in 2012 in the Czech Republic and, since then, has been developing its business through the extension of its services to countries such as Slovakia and Poland, as well as the awarding of OSP tenders (obligations of public services) in their country of origin, which is one of the areas where they seek to grow.
In Germany, since 2017, Leo Express has been operating a long-distance ‘Open Access’ service for FlixTrain between the cities of Berlin and Stuttgart, Renfe noted.
Likewise, with the aim of supplying its rail services through train-bus intermodality, Leo Express has operated various road connections in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Poland and Ukraine. Currently, due to the covid-19 crisis, they are limited to operating railway services in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.
Renfe internationalization plan
As a consequence of the current process of liberalization of the railway sector, Renfe has set itself the objective in its strategic plan to achieve a greater degree of internationalization of the company.
The entry of Renfe as the main partner in the Leo Express shareholding “has a direct benefit” for the Spanish company, such as having activity in three more European countries and having the resources and licenses to access the German market, the operator stressed. Spanish.
Likewise, it allows to immediately opt for OSP tenders in Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland, with local implementation capacity, experience, equipment, or references in those countries, “many times essential to be able to compete”.
Likewise, it will allow it to be better positioned to access the high-speed projects planned in the region, in which the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland are three countries that still have “a lot of potential” to develop their transport infrastructures.
Renfe has added that, in addition, its landing in central and eastern Europe “could have a drag effect, facilitating the growth of international activity of other Spanish companies, especially those related to the railway industry.”