FRANCE: Engineering consultancy Systra, which is owned jointly by main line operator SNCF and urban operator RATP, is to take over the engineering businesses of its two shareholders with a view to enhancing its prospects on the international market.

A draft agreement covering the proposals was announced on January 11. Signed by SNCF President Guillaume Pepy and Chief Executive Officer of RATP Pierre Mongin, the agreement envisages that Systra will become 'a fulcrum for French industry as a whole', according to RATP.

It provides for Inexia, SNCF's engineering branch, and Xelis, the equivalent business segment at RATP, to be transferred to Systra 'after a gradual process' to form a 'national champion'.

The agreement specifies that RATP and SNCF will hold equal shares in Systra, and governance will be reviewed with the setting up of a supervisory board and an executive board. Systra's short-term objective is to achieve an annual turnover of €400m 'around a wider range of products'.

Mongin will become Chairman of the supervisory board with Pepy as Vice-Chairman. An employee shareholding plan will see up to 5% of the shares offered to staff.