The Arafer – the regulator – has done his calculations: “The users will pay 500 million euros (tolls) over the duration of the concessions“, (for the next 20 years), to compensate for the freezing of tariffs in 2015, said its chairman, Bernard Novel, on Tuesday during a press conference.
“one arrives at an estimate of the increase in sales (to dealers) that would be superior to what was expected if we had just applied the contracts, and if there had been no price freeze in 2015” added Anne Yvrande-Billon, vice-president of the Arafer.
This freezing of tariffs of tolls, decided by the government at the end of several months of standoff with the dealers, however was supposed to restore the balance of the contracts, while the competition Authority had reported the “pension” these corporations since the privatisation of 2006, that challenged the interested parties.
The government had initially said that the freeze of 2015 would not be compensated. It will eventually be smoothed over the years 2019 to 2023, via the “a toll increase than would normally be expected at February 1, 2015: +0,23% +0,82% according to dealers“, details the Arafer in a press release.
These increases are in addition to the annual increases provided for in contracts between the State and these companies, and that are indexed to inflation. At February 1, 2017, the prices of motorway tolls, French will increase by 0.76% on average.
Gel more than offset
The agreements concluded in April, 2015 between the State and the dealers are supposed to “rebalance the contracts in the interest of the users and of the State”, would no doubt have received a negative opinion from the Arafer, which is not restricted while the railway sector.
“I don’t think we would have given a favourable opinion. It seems that the offset is beyond the reality of the numbers, maybe we would have proposed, I do not know, moreover, that we maintain the increase at the February 1,“, stressed Bernard Novel.
In this first annual report on the accounts of the concessionaires of motorways, the Arafer indicates that “dividends paid (in 2015) by the dealers has strongly increased to reach 3.3 billion euros (+127,5%), an amount higher than the net income of the sector which represents 2.2 billion euros.” What Bernard Novel explained by the fact that companies have been able to “(draw) in the positive results of previous years“.
The turnover of these companies increased by 2.5%, to reach € 9.4 billion. With however an important difference between the companies “historical”, whose contracts have been concluded in the 60′s and 70′s (+2,95%), and more recent, dating back to the years 2000 (+8.4 percent).
The revenue of tolls, which account for 97% of the sector’s turnover, increased by 3.2%, “in favor of a dynamic traffic (+2.9 per cent)“, details the regulator.
Questioned by AFP, the Association of the French companies of motorways (Asfa) has not wanted to comment on this report, and the department of Ecology, which depends on the secretariat of State for Transport, did not respond Tuesday afternoon.
at the End of 2014, the minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal was stepped up to the plate after a report of the competition Authority which referred to the “pension” these corporations since the privatisation of 2006, a figure disputed by the interested parties.
At the height of the crisis, a cancellation pure and simple of the concession contracts had even been mentioned.