Denmark's DFDS buys Eurotunnel ferries amid legal wrangle

8th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

Danish ferry operator DFDS said on Monday it had agreed to buy two ferries from rail tunnel operator Eurotunnel, which had faced antitrust action in Britain over its Dover to Calais service.

"DFDS has submitted a binding offer to Eurotunnel for the charter or purchase of the ferries Rodin and Berlioz with an effective date of July 2, 2015, based on terms and conditions agreed with Eurotunnel," the Danish group said in a statement.

The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

Eurotunnel said in May it would not renew contracts expiring on July 2 under which it leased three ferries it had acquired in 2012 from bankrupt maritime transporter SeaFrance to Scop SeaFrance, a cooperative of employee-owners of the re-baptised MyFerryLink line.

Eurotunnel said it "regrets that the Scop SeaFrance has not had the support it needed to be able to present a takeover proposal."

"The Eurotunnel Group believes that the constructive manner in which DFDS conducted itself during the recruitment of ex SeaFrance personnel in 2012 gives hope for the best solution possible with regard to preserving employment," it said.

On Monday Eurotunnel CEO however stressed that not all MyFerryLink personnel would retain their jobs.

"There will be a handover plan with retentions, I hope at a maximal number, but it will evidently not be equal to 100 percent of those concerned, I believe that everyone has understood that for a long time," said Jacques Gounon in a telephone press briefing.

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had argued Eurotunnel's partnership with MyFerryLink allowed the cross-Channel operator to dominate the competition.

On May 15, a British appeals court supported MyFerryLink's challenge to a decision by the CMA banning the company's service.

However, the CMA indicated it would likely take its complaint to a higher court, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty Eurotunnel said it took into account in ending its MyFerryLink contract.


© 2015 AFP

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