The transaction announced in February by SNCF Logistics subsidiary Ermewa (which previously owned 100% of the shares in Akiem) is due to be completed this month.

Akiem is the second-largest locomotive leasing firm in Europe and has a fleet of around 300 units, many of which are relatively modern Alstom Prima diesel and electric locomotives originally supplied to SNCF.

The company, with its new investors, plans to expand its fleet with the aim of almost doubling the size of the locomotive fleet over the next decade, becoming the market leader in Europe and focussing on leasing locomotives to freight operators.

Mr David Zindo, president of the executive board of Ermewa Group said in a statement: "This strategic action will allow us to sustain Akiem's growth in France and Europe with a partner who shares our long-term vision for the future and for the company's operational development."

A new partnership, announced at the same time as the sale, between Akiem and SNCF-owned train maintenance subsidiary Masteris will cover locomotive maintenance and overhauls in France for Akiem owned locomotives.

Deutsche Asset Management holds €22bn of infrastructure assets under management and is active in major development projects and partnerships in Europe and around the world.