France Rail SNCF Fined for Anti-Competitive Behavior

France Rail SNCF Fined for Anti-Competitive Behavior

French competition regulators fined SNCF, the state-owned rail company, 61 million euros ($80.5 million) for preventing new companies from entering the freight market following liberalization in 2006.

The Competition Authority also told SNCF to end within three years its policy of setting freight rates below operating costs for some customers.

SNCF was also found guilty of using for its commercial advantage confidential information about its rivals it obtained as the operator of the national rail network.

The regulator said SNCF had prevented its competitors from boosting capacity by denying them access to freight wagons.

The offenses covered the period from December 2006, when the European Union liberalized the rail freight market, to February 2008. The investigation followed a complaint by EuroCargoRail, a unit of German state rail company Deutsche Bahn.

SNCF’s domestic and foreign rivals have captured an estimated 30 percent of the rail freight market.

SNCF said the fine was disproportionate and claimed the French freight market was opening up quicker to competition than in other EU nations.

Contact Bruce Barnard at brucebarnard47@hotmail.com.