why Ouigo is wanted by the Spanish government

Spain’s Transport Minister Oscar Puente has openly criticized SNCF’s low-cost subsidiary, Ouigo, AFP reports. The minister has slammed the French subsidiary, condemning “deeply unfair” practices by selling cheap tickets “well below” the cost of high-speed trains.

SNCF subsidiary accused of dumping

In an interview with Onda Cero radio on Monday 1 April, Oscar Puente criticizes the French branch of SNCF for wanting to monopolize market share at the expense of the Spanish national company Renfe. In essence, Ouigo is accused of practicing dumping, a process that consists of selling in foreign markets at prices lower than domestic market prices, or even lower than cost price. We remind you that the French low-cost subsidiary TGV has been operating in Spain since 2022 thanks to the liberalization of the Spanish railway market.

According to Spain’s socialist minister, the opening of the rail market has brought “positive aspects”, especially the drop in train ticket prices. However, he is far from accepting the level to which the prices charged by Ouigo have fallen, deeming them “unsustainable” compared to other companies operating in the same industry, especially the national company. Now the leftist government of Pedro Sánchez plans to file a complaint against Ouigo with the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC).

France named as an accomplice

The Spanish transport minister considers the competition imposed by the French subsidiary SNCF to be excessive because it is not on the same terms as the other two companies competing for the domestic market, namely the Spanish national company Renfe, which also has a low-cost subsidiary (Avlo), and a subsidiary of the Italian public company Trenitalia (Iryo). ” Competition must be fair and allow these three companies to make a profit or at least not suffer losses. “, insists the Spanish minister.

Monday, a Catalan daily La Vanguardia it says competition between the three companies has reduced prices by 40% since Renfe’s monopoly was broken three years ago. According to the same paper, the Spanish Government considers the French Government to be complicit in this pricing policy practiced by the Ouigo subsidiary, to the extent that SNCF, the parent company, is a public company.

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