EUROPE: Spanish national operator RENFE has gained access to the passenger markets of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia and ‘the necessary licences and resources’ to enter the German market, following the completion of its purchase of a 50% stake in Czech open access operator Leo Express.

The announcement on August 20 followed formal approval by the finance ministry in Madrid.

Announcing its intention to buy the stake back in March, RENFE said the deal was in line with its internationalisation strategy and would enable it to respond more rapidly to emerging opportunities in liberalised markets in central and eastern Europe. It also hoped the agreement would create a ‘cluster effect’ whereby other Spanish companies involved in the rail supply chain could also expand their European footprints.