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VINCI was formed in 2000 following the merger of SFE (Société Générale d’Entreprises) and GTM (Grands Travaux de Marseilles). At the end of the 19thcentury and throughout the 20th century, the two companies had supported or anticipated two major revolutions: electricity and the automobile. True to the concession system, they adapted to the two world wars, several economic crises, decolonisation and the changing policies of successive governments.
1900 – 1916
- The expansion of electricity ran into a stumbling block: lack of public funding. The concession approach seemed to be the appropriate way to create electricity generation, transmission and distribution business activities.
- From 1900, Girolou and GTM, experienced in building this new kind of infrastructure, decided to attack the whole new market they saw emerging, beyond works contracts.
- From the outset, Giros and Loucheur built an electricity generation and distribution company, whose customers came from the electrification of industry and the railways.
- In 1905, SGE marked its interest in the downstream part of the market by signing the urban lighting concession for Roubaix and then the Roubaix-Tourcoing tram system.
- In 1907, EENF (Energie Electrique du Nord de la France) was created and became the energy supplier of the two above-named companies. EENF’s annual growth rate was over 50% for several years. In 1910, Compagnie Electrique de la Loire et du Centre was created.
- During the same period, SGE worked with the Fougerolles brothers and Adrien Palaz on the hydroelectric facilities on the River Durance and River Isère.
- In 1909, a company by the name of “Le Matériel Roulant” won the Haute Vienne local railway concession. Everyone believed firmly in the future of local railways and, in 1911, the Basses Pyrénées local railway was created, followed by that of Haute Garonne in 1913.
- EENF opened the Wasquehal power station in 1914, the biggest in France at that time.
- During all those years, GTM invested initially in the water and wastewater sectors. Its first management contract, in charge of wastewater collection and treatment for the Marseilles municipality, ran from 1890 to 1948. Then, gradually, GTM participated in the creation of various power generation companies, including EESO in south-west France and EELM on the Mediterranean coast, while continuing to pursue growth in water supply and distribution.
- In 1899, GTM formed Société d’Exploitation et des Forces Motrices de Grasse and participated in the creation of Société d’Exploitation des Tramways in Toulon.
- In 1903, GTM also succumbed to the temptation of local railways, creating Société des Chemins de Fer de la Bedoule, which linked the quarries to the east of Marseilles to the PLM network.
- EELM grew strongly between 1905 and 1913, absorbing Forces Motrices des Alpes Maritimes in 1905 and its south-west counterpart in 1906.
- The time leading up to the First World War was a period of international expansion, which saw SGE and GTM win concession contracts in Turkey (roads and lighting in Constantinople), Spain, Russia and Italy (railways). The war led to a withdrawal from these projects and increasing investment in the power generation sector, which was handicapped for several years by a lack of coal. Saint Etienne, with its wealth of coal and located a good distance from the front, became the capital of electricity generation.
- It became apparent that tramways and local railways were not very profitable, and the motorcar emerged as a competitor.
1916 – 1939
- SGE and GTM tried to relaunch their international expansion. They revitalised the Italian projects, which came to an end finally in 1931. Creation of SFE (GTM, SGE, Fougerolle and BNCI) to build the Port of Alexandretta in Syria.
- Gradual withdrawal from the tramway companies.
- Acquisition of the German-held interests in Forces Motrices du Rhin.
- Very few concession contracts were awarded during this period, the government preferring control by public or semi-public companies.
1950 – 1960
- France’s liberation and its political trends did nothing to improve the situation for concessions. Local authorities did, however, apply the principle to solve a totally new problem: car parks.
- GTM emerged as a pioneer in this field: in Paris, the Esplanade des Invalides car park opened in 1962 and Champs Elysées-George V car park in 1965, followed by the first car parks beyond the capital in subsequent years.
- Two other players helped to boost the revival of concessions: Sogea and Sogeparc. Merged with CGST, Sogepag and then GTM, they contributed a significant proportion of the 800,000 parking spaces operated under the VINCI Park brand.
1970 – 2000
- France’s motorway network development had fallen a long way behind. The Chalandon Law authorised motorway concessions in 1970. In 1969, two tenders proposed the concession for Paris-Le Mans and Paris-Poitiers. They were won by Cofiroute, which became France’s first private concession operator in 1977.
- Signature in 1992 of a concession contract for two bridges over the River Severn linking England and Wales.
- In 1995, GTM won the concession contract for the Phnom Penh airport in Cambodia. A few years later contracts were signed for the airports at Siem Reap (2001) and Sihanoukville (2006).
- The bridge over the Tagus in opened in 1998, on the occasion of the Lisbon world’s fair.
- In 1998, the Stade de France is ready to host the World Cup football match. The contract, won by a consortium bringing together SGE, GTM and Bouygues, covered design, construction, operation and financing of the 80,000 multi-purpose stadium.
2000 – 2010
- In 2000, GTM and SGE merge to form VINCI.
- In 2001 the VINCI Park brand is created to bring together the Sogea, Sogepark, CGST, Sogepag and GTM contracts. VINCI Park now operates in over 200 cities in 12 countries, with 1,259 car parks comprising about 811,000 paying parking spaces.
- In 2002, following construction, the Canadian motorway linking the cities of Fredericton and Moncton, for which VINCI Concessions holds the contract, begins operations.
- In 2004, VINCI Concessions wins the public service contracts to operate, manage and develop two French airports: Grenoble-Isère and Chambéry-Savoie.
- In 2004 again, the cable-stayed bridge linking the Peloponnese with the continent in Greece is opened to traffic. Bit by bit, VINCI establishes a firm foothold in Greece, managing more than 600 km of toll roads there since 2007.
- In 2005, VINCI buys ASF shares and shares in its subsidiary ESCOTA previously held by the government. VINCI now owns 100% of the equity capital in these two motorway companies.
- In 2006, VINCI Concessions signs the Rhônexpress contract for the light rail linking the Part-Dieu railway station in Lyons with the city’s Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport in 25 minutes.
- Together with VINCI Energies, VINCI Concessions wins the public lighting contract for the city of Rouen in 2006.
- In 2007, the Prado Carénage tunnel in Marseilles, a concession awarded to VINCI Concessions, achieves record traffic with 60,000 vehicles on 22 June. The tunnel consists of two superimposed tubes.
- In 2008, VINCI Concessions signs the contract for the submerged Coentunnel road tunnel in Amsterdam.
- In 2009 and 2010, VINCI Concessions makes further headway outside France with the signature of the contract for the A5 motorway in Germany and the R1 motorway in Slovakia.
- In addition, between 2008 and 2010, VINCI Concessions consolidates its position in the French airports market by winning four public service contracts in Clermont Ferrand, Quimper, Rennes and Dinart.
- In February 2010, VINCI Concessions wins and signs its largest partnership contract to date for GSM-Rail, covering the installation, operation and maintenance of a new digital communications system along 14,000 km of railway lines.
- On 29 January 2011, the MMArena, the new 25,000 seat stadium in Le Mans, is officially opened.