As the Prime Minister announced on 25 May 2018, the French government will take over €35 billion of SNCF Réseau debt as part of the reform of France’s railway system. The government will take over €25 billion of the debt in 2020 and €10 billion in 2022, substantially strengthening the railway's financial structure and improving its operating performances.
The assumption will involve arranging matching loans between the rail operator (SNCF Réseau) and the Government Debt Fund (Caisse de la Dette Publique - CDP). After that, and following authorisation from Parliament in the Budget Act, the government will assume the rail operator's debt to CDP, removing the corresponding amount of debt from the SNCF Réseau balance sheet.
This method has been effective in the past, as shown by the assumption of €8 billion in debt by the SNCF Special Debt Repayment Unit (SAAD) in 2007.
This arrangement will spread the impact of assuming this debt on the government’s borrowing requirement over a long period, while restoring the financial sustainability of SNCF Réseau. It will maintain completely equal treatment for bondholders.