Today (Wednesday) has proven to be a devastating day for SeaFrance as the Paris commercial court ordered that the company be put into liquidation. After rejecting two bids that were offered, the firm that employs more than a thousand people is now facing a bleak and uncertain future. Passengers who had planned to use the services in the up and coming months shouldn’t panic however; as the court also announced that the company’s Calais to Dover services would continue running until January 28 next year. It also confirmed that new take-over bids would be accepted until December 12.
The company has encountered numerous problems throughout the years as it has faced direct and stiff competition from the channel tunnel and was hit relatively hard during the financial crisis that started in 2008. The liquidation news has still come as a shock to many however, especially as two bids were laid out to take over the firm. French shipping firm Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and Danish ferry company DFDS had made an offer to invest 50 million euros in the firm and buy five of its ships for another five million euros, and a second offer was organised by the CFDT trade union which would have seen the firm turned into a workers’ cooperative.
The court dismissed the latter as they ruled that there was no capital to finance such a project and the former bid was also unsuccessful as the court decided that the companies’ plan would involve more than half of SeaFrance’s staff losing their jobs which in turn could trigger industrial action that would add to the damage of the firm’s reputation. Many passengers will now have their fingers firmly crossed and will wait anxiously to see what else unfolds as there looks to be many more twists and turns still to come in this long running saga.