Eurotunnel, the operator of the undersea rail link between the UK and France has reluctantly sold its subsidiary the Calais-Dover ferry business MyFerryLink, to Channel Tunnel competitor Danish DFDS Group following a competition ruling.
Eurotunnel bought the SeaFrance ferry business for £51m (US$78m) when that firm went out of business in 2012.
Eurotunnel is a forced seller of the service because of antitrust action. It had wanted to sell the business to a workers’ cooperative SCOP SeaFrance, rather than to DFDS but regretting that SeaFrance SCOP did not have the necessary support to make a takeover offer, it had to accept the tender submitted by DFDS for leasing the ships Berlioz and Rodin.
On January 9, 2015 the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal upheld the position of the Competition and Markets Authority, ruling that the operation of the Dover-Calais route with a Eurotunnel subsidiary represented a distortion of competition by virtue of its dominant position in cross-channel transport. recently, Eurotunnel secured a victory in the Court of Appeal against the Competition and Markets Authority which allowed it to continue operating.
However, in late May, Eurotunnel decided not to renew its contract with SeaFrance SCOP MyFerryLink Company, which runs until July 2, 2015. A Eurotunnel spokesman said: “The Eurotunnel group has decided to sell its maritime activity, MyFerryLink, as the conditions necessary to develop freely did not exist.”
MyFerryLink operates two ferries, with up to 16 daily sailings on the Dover-Calais route. It also has a former SeaFrance freight ship.
DFDS says it has agreed terms and conditions for a deal involving the vessels Rodin (built 2001) and Berlioz (built 2005) but no details were disclosed.