abertis presents its Foundation in France, with road safety measures and a chair in infrastructure management

Jan. 27, 2011 | Abertis Foundation

Today and tomorrow in Paris the abertis foundation will be presenting the launch of its activities in France with the setting up of a chair in partnership with the École des Ponts ParisTech and IFSTTAR, for training and research in the field of infrastructure management, as well as launching an education programme for young people on motorway driving: Autoroute Académie. This is the third country outside Spain in which the abertis foundation has taken action, having been present in Italy since 2009 and Chile since 2010.

The chairman of abertis, Salvador Alemany, and the head of the abertis foundation, Miquel Roca, will be leading the group delegation at the official event to launch the foundation in Paris, which is to take place this afternoon at the Spanish embassy. Various figures from Spain and France – among them the French industry and energy minister Éric Besson – will be attending the event, accompanied by the Spanish ambassador to France, Carlos Bastarreche.

abertis is the premier Spanish company in France in investment terms. In the last four years the investments it has made in the country have come to nearly 5,000 million euros. Highlights among these investments include the 2,800 million euros spent in 2006 on acquiring a 52.5% stake in the motorway concession operator sanef and the 1,077 million spent in 2007 on purchasing 32% of the Paris-based satellite operator eutelsat. abertis is also active in the car park sector in France.

Training and research into infrastructure management

This morning saw the presentation of the chaire abertis, a university chair set up jointly by the abertis foundation and the École des Ponts ParisTech-IFSTTAR (the French institute for transport science and technology, development and networks). Headed by professor Simon Cohen, the activities of the chair will focus on training and research in the field of transport infrastructure management, and will be aimed at students, researchers, academics and professionals in the field. Together with the UPC-abertis chair at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the one to be inaugurated at La Sapienza university in Rome, it will be part of a European network of specialist chairs.

Every year the three chairs will award the abertis prize for research into transport infrastructure management. The event presenting the new chair was attended by Francisco Reynés, managing director of abertis, Pierre Chassigneux, chairman of sanef and of the abertis foundation in France, François Gauthey, general manager of sanef, Simon Cohen, director of the abertis chair and various personalities from the École des Ponts ParisTech.

Autoroute Académie Programme

Autoroute Académie is a training scheme for motorway driving. Organised by the abertis foundation and the sanef group, the French concession operator in the abertis group, it deals with aspects such as merging into traffic, estimating distance using rear view mirrors, tiredness and what to do in the event of a breakdown. Autoroute Académie is aimed at drivers and driving school pupils aged between 18 and 25. This age group makes up 9% of the French population but accounts for 21% of traffic accident victims.

On the web site, young people can find educational content in a range of videos which show real scenes of motorway driving. They can also test their knowledge by answering a test on the web site. Every month those with the best scores will go into a draw for 1,000 kilometres of free motorway use in France. The young people will also be able to out their friends’ driving to the test by inviting them, via social networks, to try the web site. The campaign is not entirely internet-based, as 1,000 motorways will receive a kit with educational materials.

Partners in the initiative include the country’s three main associations of driving schools: ANPER (Association Nationale pour la Promotion de l’Education Routière), CNPA (Conseil National des Professions de l’Automobile) and CER (Centres d’Education Routière). It also enjoys the support of the French government, through its road traffic and safety department. The event to launch Autoroute Académie is to take place tomorrow and will be attended by Michèle Merli, the French government’s inter-ministry delegate for road safety, Pere Navarro, the Spanish government’s director-general of traffic, Francisco Reynés, the managing director of abertis, and Pierre Chassigneux, president of the French branch of the abertis foundation and chairman of sanef.

The abertis foundation

The abertis foundation was set up in 1999 to foster research into the impact of infrastructure on the regions, in particular on the environment, population and economy. As one of the responses to Corporate Social Responsibility by abertis, the foundation has also organised an extensive road safety programme which works in the areas of road traffic education, awareness raising, research and dissemination of knowledge through the organisation of technical symposia and the production of specialist publications. The foundation also runs projects of a cultural and social nature.

abertis in France

abertis is the number one Spanish investor in France. In the last four years the group has made investments worth nearly 5,000 million euros in the country, expanding its presence in three out of its five business areas: motorways, telecommunications infrastructures and car parks.

In 2006 the company took over the concession operator sanef (Société des Autoroutes du Nord et de l’Est de la France), after the French government had in the privatisation process of 2005 awarded this company to the Holding d’Infrastructures de Transport (HIT), led by abertis with a 52.5% holding and also including the Caisse de Dépôts, the AXA insurance group, the French investment fund Predica and the firm FFP, controlled by the Peugeot group.

In the telecommunications infrastructure business, abertis is the main shareholder in eutelsat, after the acquisition of 32% of the satellite operator by abertis telecom in 2007.

In turn, sanef saba parkings, a company owned by saba – the group’s car park subsidiary – and sanef, manages two parking sites in Paris: Maubert-Lagrange and François 1er, both of them located right in the heart of the French capital.

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