Renfe has acquired 50% of the capital of the Czech railway company Leo Express, which operates services in different Central European countries. The operation, which has the authorization of the Ministry of Finance and is part of the internationalization process of the Spanish operator, constitutes a strategic business opportunity for Renfe, which seeks to establish alliances and open new business channels outside the national market .
The investment and shareholder agreements signed between the Spanish and the Czech companies contemplate a 50% capital increase of Leo Express, which is assumed by Renfe.
Leo Express is a private company that began operating in 2012 in the Czech Republic, and since then, it has been developing its business through the extension of its services to countries such as Slovakia and Poland, as well as with the awarding of OSP tenders in the Czech Republic itself, which is one of the areas where they seek to grow. In Germany, since 2017, they have been operating a long-distance Open Access service between Berlin and Stuttgart for FlixTrain.
Likewise, with the aim of feeding its rail services through the train-bus intermodality, Leo Express has operated various road connections in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Poland and Ukraine. Currently, due to the COVID-19 crisis, they are limited to operating railway services in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.
As a consequence of the current process of liberalization of the railway sector, Renfe has set itself as an objective in its Strategic plan achieve a greater degree of internationalization of the company. Thus, the entry of Renfe as the main partner in the Leo Express shareholding has a direct benefit for the Spanish company, such as having activity in three more European countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) and having the resources and licenses to access to the German market.
Likewise, it allows you to immediately opt for OSP tenders in Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland, with local implementation capacity, experience, equipment, or references in those countries, often essential to be able to compete.
Renfe would also be better positioned to access high-speed projects that are planned in the region. The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland are three countries that still have a lot of potential for the development of their transport infrastructures.
Furthermore, the landing of Renfe in Central and Eastern Europe it could have a drag effect, facilitating the growth of the international activity of other Spanish companies, especially those related to the railway industry.