Virus Costs French State Rail Company 2 Billion Euros So Far

French state-owned railroad company SNCF estimates that it has lost 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) so far due to the coronavirus crisis.

Job cuts and state aid may be needed if the transport slump drags on for longer, SNCF Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Farandou told France Inter radio Saturday.

Public transport operators reduced their service after France decided to curb non-essential travels in mid-March. While the lockdown will progressively be lifted from May 11, it is unclear when train traffic will return to normal.

SNCF’s troubles are yet another blow to French public finances. The nation’s economy is set to shrink by 8.6% this year in Bloomberg Economics’ central forecast.

The crisis could translate in asset sales for SNCF, which has previously said it was “still too soon” to know how coronavirus will impact its overall finances. The company, which plans to bring more than 50% of normal capacity back as of May 11, had 5.8 billion euros in cash and 3.5 billion euros available in revolving credit facilities at the end of last month.




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