Annual Report 2015 > Abertis Group > Abertis in the world > Toll roads > France
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The Group manages more than 2,000 kilometres of toll roads - 1,761 directly managed and 278 indirectly managed - in the northwest of France (Sanef), Normandy (Sapn) and Aquitaine (Sanef Aquitaine); representing more than 20% of all the toll roads in the country.

In 2015, the division began a new stage with a renewed Management team and has worked around three main lines.

First, improvements in Sanef’s shareholders relations, through preparatory and technical meetings with minority shareholders in order to promote the company’s transparency and share its strategic decisions.

Second, the implementation of a new model of organisation based on an adaptation of the Abertis industrial model, in which the exploitation units acquire new importance.

Finally, a three-year efficiency plan – the Opteam programme – which seeks simplification in processes and reductions in costs. The programme, which is advancing more quickly than was expected, aims to place the company’s efficiency ratios above the average for the concessionary sector in France in 2017.

The Abertis subsidiary in France closed 2015 with a growth in traffic (1.8%) in both the light vehicle segment and for heavy vehicles. The enhanced support of resources and personnel for the various Sanef networks has helped to set off the effects on traffic of the social instability affecting France during the year, with the terrorist attacks in Paris and social upheavals, as well as other events, such the World Climate Summit.

In the financial field, the French group – through HIT and Sanef – successfully closed two bond issues at 10 years for a total of 800 million euros, which allowed the extension of the debt maturity profile at a very competitive price. In the case of Sanef, an inaugural public issue was carried out after a road-show with the most relevant world investors in Paris, London, Frankfurt and Munich.

But, without doubt, what concentrated the attention of the Abertis division in France was the agreement with the French State for the execution of the Relance Plan, an ambitious project of public-private partnership, by which the principal operators in the country undertake to make new investments for improving the toll roads network in exchange for an extension in the duration of their concessions.

Also in 2015 new projects in the Sanef network were started up for more sustainable mobility. The Corridoor project promotes the creation of a network of rapid recharge points for electric cars in order to promote the use of these vehicles outside the big cities. In the same line, an agreement has been reached to encourage the shared use of cars, with special parking areas being arranged on the outskirts of the city.

With regard to technological innovations, mention must be made of the installation of machines with “contactless” technology – NFC – enabling the user to pay the toll by holding up a mobile telephone close to the toll booth terminal. The positive experience of this pilot project has opened the way for more innovations in this field. In 2016 it is envisaged the implementation of a system of payment by mobile using Bluetooth technology, and in the area of Strasbourg there will be trials of a free-flow toll system.

In its commitment with Social Responsibility, Sanef has been focused on road safety campaigns, and the sponsorship of important cultural events, such as the first retrospective exhibition of the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez in France, which could be visited at the Grand Palais in Paris. In 2016, Sanef will take a leading role in events commemorating the centenary of the Great War (1914-1918).

Finally, Sanef has undertaken to intensify institutional relations in its territories, with the aim of better satisfaction of regional needs through its networks.

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