MyFerryLink sold to rival DFDS ….
The Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel has sold its cross-Channel ferry company MyFerryLink to the rival ferry company DFDS in a bid to end a running battle with the British Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA).
Despite Eurotunnel last month winning a Court of Appeal ruling that the Competition and Markets Authority could not close down MyFerryLink, they have decided to go ahead with the sale.
The company feared that the CMA would not give up its bid to close the ferries, which would cause uncertainty for its workers and customers. It said that it had initially wanted to sell MyFerryLink to the operating company, the workers’ cooperative Scop SeaFrance, but said the Scop had “not had the support it needed to be able to present a takeover proposal”.
Eurotunnel had orginally bought the former SeaFrance ferries from SNCF in 2012 and a new ferry service was set up by the Scop. But the CMA said that despite the fact that Scop was operating the service, EuroTunnel had a Channel crossing monopoly.
The company said in a statement that “the conditions necessary to develop freely did not exist” and it was accepting a “binding offer from DFDS for a let to buy sale of the ferries, Rodin and Berlioz”.
Eurotunnel said the CMA should have no reason to oppose the sale as it would leave two cross-Channel operators, DFDS and P&O, of the same scale. The CMA had said MyFerryLink should close as it gave Eurotunnel a monopoly that forced down ferry fares and could threaten the closure of another company on the route.
Eurotunnel said that the sale to DFDS would ensure that the ferry business remains in Calais. In a statement released it said that the Eurotunnel Group believes that the constructive manner in which DFDS conducted itself during the recruitment of ex-SeaFrance personnel in 2012, gives hopethat it will come to the best solution possible with regard to preserving employment, without interruption to services. MyFerryLink currently employs 370 staff onboard its boats and 106 staff on land.