Atlantia breaks into French market with toll system contract

The Italian toll road operator has earned the distinction of becoming one of the few foreign companies to win a PPP contract in France. Atlantia will install a satellite-based toll system for heavy vehicles across 15,000km of road, worth over €2bn.

Autostrade per L’Italia, a subsidiary of Italian toll road developer Atlantia, has been named preferred bidder to install a satellite-based tolling system for heavy vehicles in France, joining that rare club of foreign developers that have managed to win a public-private partnership (PPP) contract in the country.

Atlantia will be required to implement and operate the tolling system which aims to charge a fee from heavy vehicles weighing over 3.5 tons, across 15,000 kilometres of the country’s road network. The project is known in France as the Eco Taxe Poids Lourds.

The Italian operator expects to net more than €2 billion of revenue over the life of the 13-year concession contract. Design and construction are expected to take up 21 months with operation and maintenance comprising the remaining 11.5 years of the concession.

Giovanni Castellucci, Atlantia’s chief executive, acknowledged the significance of the contract: “The result of the tender called by the French government, which attracted bids from leading French and international industrial and technology groups, is due recognition for the group’s leadership and world-beating expertise.”

In addition to Atlantia (70 percent), the winning consortium includes French companies Thales (11 percent), SNCF (10 percent), SFR (6 percent) and Steria (3 percent). The team is said to have beaten competition from an Sanef/Egis/Caisse des Dépôts/ Siemens/ Atos and Safran consortium and another team comprising Bouygues, Orange and Kaptsch.

To find out more about France’s multi-billion euro deal pipeline, be sure to read our country report on France to be published in the February 2011 issue of Infrastructure Investor magazine.