For the president of the trains of France, “the companies need to be transparent for their development”

September 29, 2018 - By Arturo Altman

Guillaume Pepy presides over the National Society of French Railways (SNCF), a French public company whose annual turnover reaches 32,300 million euros. It is in 120 countries and has 260,000 employees. Pepy is also seated in the Eurostar exchange, and is the second in the Keolis Group, a mass transportation company, one of the ones that was presented in the tender to operate the Buenos Aires subway network.

Pepy was this week in this capital for the Forum of 30 French companies that took place in the San Martin Palace. It was in the midst of announcements about the new agreement between the Government and the IMF. And while civil servants of the K administration continued parading by courts to declare in the causes by corruption. The following is a summary of his interview with Clarín.

– Entrepreneurs who came in this mission affirm that Argentina’s agreement with the IMF gives more guarantees to have investments here. For Argentines, this agreement is the result of a financial and exchange crisis. How do you see it?

-I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman. But I would like to say that true friends are in the good and the bad. Argentina and France are countries that have historical ties, cultural ties and friendship, which are very solid, and I see that French companies have confidence in the future of Argentina, that French companies have the desire to invest in Argentina, and that the project and ambition, which is that of the Argentine people today, is a noble, important and respectful ambition. And that is also why we decided to make Buenos Aires the regional center of our regional activities in Latin America.

-What investments do you analyze in the country?

-It’s a bit early to describe it. But I have two ideas. First in logistics, we are number one in France, and the exchanges between Argentina and France are already important. We have almost one hundred people here, and we want to develop our activities. The second idea is the PPP and the new financing in infrastructure. The third idea is that Argentina has an important human potential, of architects, of engineers, of technicians, it is a great country at the technical level, so our idea could be, I put it on conditional, have a transfer of experience and know-how, know how, with regard to rail innovation, ecological mobility, the industrial Internet and through there create a center of competence to have exchanges.

-In Argentina a strong legal process against corruption is being carried out, which for the first time includes businessmen who recognize it. What do you think about it?

-As a French citizen, I do not have more information than what I get in the newspapers. But I can say that we are a French public company that belongs to the people. And each French owns a small part of the SNCF, and is a company where everything that has to do with transparency, ethics, honesty and corruption issues, are at the top of the list. So, the conclusion is that we come here because we trust that in Argentina these issues are also a priority. And every time I meet with an Argentine company or a political leader, that person is the one who brings up the issue, this question, to say … it is from now on a national obsession that these issues are dealt with head-on, that you look at Face the subject. And that gives us peace of mind, clearly.

-But do you think that it is good that this whole corruption scheme should break even if at the moment it affects the economy and the companies?

-I’ll express a personal opinion. Sometimes the questions of ethics, transparency, and honesty are presented as obstacles to economic life, and the opposite is true. Companies and economic operators need to have a transparent, reliable, honest system to be able to develop. We work only in countries where these guarantees are provided. And I can assure you, as far as the subway tender in Argentina is concerned, from our point of view, it is carried out in a very professional manner, very transparent, and with a fairness concern, in every instance.

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