FRENCH rail and public transport engineering consultancy Semaly was officially relaunched as Egis Rail on June 1, following a restructuring of the rail activities within the Egis group.

Since the former Lyon transport engineering arm was privatised in 1992, Semaly has been 77% owned by Egis - which is itself wholly-owned by French banking group Caisse des Depôts and headed by Transdev's Director-General Philippe Segretaine. The remainder was held by US engineering group Bechtel.

As part of a complete restructuring of the Egis Group portfolio during 2007, Semaly has been merged with the rail activities of Scetauroute, which in turn is being rebranded as Egis Route. As a result of the changes, the group's stake in Egis Rail has increased to 86%, with Bechtel now holding 13·2% and SNCF 0·8%.

Announcing the changes at the UITP congress in Helsinki on May 23, Egis Rail CEO Hervé Chaine said that rail and urban transport generated around 17% of Egis Group's €450m turnover in 2006. France accounts for 51% of Egis Rail business, and other EU countries a further 12%. Semaly has also been involved with the introduction of CBTC on the New York subway, and with new lines in North Africa and China.

Chaine is keen to develop other markets where the group already has a presence, such as India and Romania. He said the business is 'well-placed' to expand over the next few years, in part thanks to a 'growing involvement' with the RFF programme of PPP projects (RG 6.07 p363). He predicted that PPP-related activities could account for 25% to 30% of Egis Rail business within the next five years. This year he expects Egis Rail turnover to reach €55m, projecting an annual growth of 10% compared to a recent average of 8% or 9%.