The Seafrance Saga

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It seems that plans by ferry companies LD Lines and DFDS Seaways to buy up foundering French ferry firm Seafrance, are starting to cause a little bit of trouble. Eurotunnel has already slammed the plans as ‘anti competitive’ and has also said that the intended move would also reduce competition and create an unacceptable advantage, especially as the bid would be backed by state funds.

Despite already operating cross channel services however, LD/DFDS want to buy three of the four SeaFrance ferries which would see nearly half of the nearly 900 SeaFrance jobs cut, with only 460 in the new group and 80 more being offered work within LD Lines and DFDS Seaways. SeaFrance seem to be in a terrible position however, as the company will fall into liquidation if no bid is accepted soon. As it stands, there are only two takeover bids in place – one from the LD/DFDS consortium and one from a workers cooperative – however if the cooperative bid, which is firmly backed by the SeaFrance staff union CFDT, is accepted, all jobs would be retained.

The bid will see the fleet that the firm currently owns, being bought for a token of one euro and unnamed investors putting in up to 80million euros to fund the project. With a final decision expected on the 16th of this month however, it certainly looks like this takeover bid is going to rumble on right until the last second.