Specialized activities

Renewing track on the La Rochelle to Niort railway line, replacing ballast, track and cross ties using the Fast Track Renewal train

Colas also operates in Specialized activities that are complementary to the Road segment. These businesses (excluding the sale of refined products in France) generated revenue of 2.0 billion euros in 2016, representing 18% of total Group revenue.

01 Specialized activities

Renewing track on the La Rochelle to Niort railway line, replacing ballast, track and cross ties using the Fast Track Renewal train

Specialized activities

The Group's Specialized activities are as follows:

  • Railways (Colas Rail)
  • Waterproofing (Smac)
  • Road safety and signaling (Aximum)
  • Networks (Spac)

02 Railways

Upgrading track on the railway between Plouaret and Lannion in Brittany, France
  • Building infrastructures for the Casablanca tramway in Morocco
  • Renewing track on the West Coast Mainline South train line in Great Britain
  • Refurbishing railway track near Modane in the French Alps
  • Repaving roads in southern France


Colas’ railway business is operated via Colas Rail, a Colas company that arose from the merger of Seco-Rail acquired in 200 and Spie Rail, acquired in 2007, and its subsidiaries.  Its main strongholds are in France and in Great Britain, but the company also works in Belgium, Romania, Venezuela, Chili, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Malaysia. The Railway business generated revenue of 967 million euros in 2016 (9% of total Group revenue). It encompasses the following:

  • construction, replacement and maintenance of rail networks (conventional and high-speed lines, trams and subways), covering both installations and infrastructure, including laying and maintaining tracks,
  • electrification: substations and catenary systems,
  • signaling and safety systems,
  • specific projects: bridge cranes, sidings and tunnels,
  • design and engineering for complex large-scale projects,
  • rail freight activities: the transport of aggregates for Group subsidiaries as well as goods for private customers.

In order to successfully operate in this sector, Colas Rail has at its disposal a vast fleet with an estimated replacement value of 450 million euros (locomotives, cars, track laying and maintenance units, high-output track replacement units and other vehicles).

Below are some examples of recently completed projects and projects in progress:

  • construction of the Nîmes-Montpellier high speed rail bypass, construction of overhead lines on the new Brittany-Pays de Loire LGV high speed train line, renovation on Niort-La Rochelle line,
  • track renewal and network maintenance as part of long-term contracts in Great Britain
  • construction and/or extension of tramways in the cities of Besançon, Valenciennes, Clermont-Ferrand, Reims , Grenoble, Toulouse, Tours, Lyon, Le Mans, Bordeaux, Marseille in France, Rabat, Casablanca in Morocco
  • construction of a 17.7 km extension of the Kelana Jaya light rail in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • construction of metro line 2 in Los Teques, Venezuela, construction of lines 3 and 6 of the Santiago, Chile metro, extension of line 1 of the Algiers, Algeria metro, extension of line 3 of the Cairo, Egypt metro.

03 Waterproofing

  • Facades, roofing at the Quartz 92 shopping center near Paris
  • Waterproofing and wearing course on the Rama IX Bridge in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Installing photovolatic panels and serigraph panels on the the 5th facade of the Tour Sequana near Paris
  • Roofing, cladding, facades at the Confluences museum in Lyon, France
  • Facades, roofing, waterproofing on the Convention Center in southeast France


The Group's Waterproofing business is performed via Smac and its subsidiaries. In 2016, waterproofing generated revenue of 547 million euros (5% of total Group revenue). Waterproofing encompasses the following:

  • production and sales of waterproofing membranes both in France and internationally (in more than 70 countries), as well as sky domes and smoke removal equipment, and the installation and maintenance of servo controls. In 2016, Smac and its subsidiaries produced 19 million square meters of waterproofing membrane. 
  • construction work:
    • waterproofing for buildings, civil engineering structures and parking lots
    • building envelopes: roofing, waterproofing, cladding and acoustics, particularly for offices, industrial facilities, theaters, museums, etc. [ex: roofing, waterproofing and cladding for the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, including installation of photovoltaic membranes (France)]
    • mastic asphalt surfaces: sidewalks, roadways, public squares, pedestrian areas, traffic circles, gutters, bus lanes, etc.

This activity is deployed as follows:

  • in France, via a network of 75 profit centers, 11 mastic asphalt production sites and a waterproofing membrane production site, Cité du Vin in Bordeaux
  • internationally, via a waterproofing membrane production site in Saudi Arabia and subsidiaries in countries including Great Britain, Canada, Morocco, Chili and Peru.

Smac draws on its highly-skilled research and development department and engineering design offices to deliver extremely technical projects in which its expertise is widely recognized.

04 Networks

  • Installing a 53-km section of pipeline in central France
  • Installing pipeline in northern France as part of the GRT Gaz Hauts de France II project
  • Construction of surface infrastructure for the Hauterives underground natural gas storage unit in southeast France
  • Installing 11 km of pipeline and two switching stations in southwest France


The Group's Networks business, which is operated by its subsidiary Spac, acquired in 1993, generated 2016 revenue of 189 million euros (2% of total Group revenue). The business mainly operates in France.

It encompasses the following:

  • installation and maintenance of large- and small-diameter pipes and pipelines for:
    • conveying fluids (oil, gas, water, etc.), including the construction of gas compression stations
    • dry networks (electricity, heating and telecommunications)
  • small-scale civil engineering and industrial services

Spac operates across a broad range of activities covering the construction of energy distribution infrastructure and other infrastructure associated with water and the environment:

  • pipelines: construction and maintenance of high pressure distribution networks (pipelines, compression stations, pipeline equipment, associated civil engineering, under pressure drilling, etc.)
  • gas, electricity and communication networks: construction and maintenance of high, medium and low pressure networks
  • drinking water: construction and maintenance of networks for conveying drinking water from its source to distribution points (i.e., catchment and distribution);
  • drainage: construction and maintenance of sewerage and drainage networks for local authorities
  • maritime engineering: construction and maintenance of structures for port and river developments (quays, dikes, embankments, etc.).

Below are some examples of recently completed projects and projects in progress in France:

  • installation of 88 km of pipeline for GRT Gaz as part of the Hauts de France II project in the north of France
  • installation of 80 km of gas pipeline for the Arc de Direrry and the Artere des Flandres projects

05 Road safety and signaling

Installing guardrails on an upgrading project on Route RN 113 near the French Riviera
  • Installing ECO GS on Route RN 113 in Saint-Martin-de-Crau near the French Riviera
  • Maintenance of public lighting, Place de la Concorde in Paris
  • Road marking on Ho Chin Minh street in La Possession, Reunion Island
  • Road signs on the Saint-Prix bypass in central France
  • Road marking on the Saint-Prix bypass in central France

Road safety and signaling

In 2016 the Group's Road safety and signaling business generated revenue of 301 million euros (2% of total Group revenue).

It consists of the manufacture, installation and maintenance of road safety equipment (guardrails and traffic control equipment), road marking (production of road paint and road marking work), signs (road signs), signals, traffic management and access control equipment (traffic lights and equipment for toll barriers, parking lot barriers and access control barriers).

This business is operated through Aximum and its subsidiaries, mainly in France but also internationally, namely the Netherlands (which is home to a road paint production plant) and through an export activity working with some twenty countries. Aximum has a French network of 120 sales offices and 10 plants producing road marking, electronics and safety products and signing.

Below are some examples of recently completed projects and projects in progress:

  • an energy performance contract (EPC) covering street lighting and traffic lights in the city of Paris, France
  • refurbishment of safety equipment on a 10-km section of Highway A6 under very heavy traffic
  • supply and installation of guard rails for the Nîmes-Montpellier LGV high speed train, and for the L2 bypass in Marseille

In 2014, Aximum was awarded a first 22-year contract for the maintenance of the Troissereux bypass in northern France.

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