Groupe Eurotunnel is to sell its MyFerryLink ferry business after failing to win a second appeal against a ten-year operation ban from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Primarily run by a cooperative comprised of former SeaFrance employees known as SCOP SeaFrance, MyFerryLink has a fleet of three vessels, which were acquired by Groupe Eurotunnel following the liquidation of its former close competitor SeaFrance in January 2012. The vessels recommenced service on the Dover-Calais route on 20 August 2012 and MyFerryLink operated up to 24 daily crossings on the route. Groupe Eurotunnel also provides rail transport services to passengers and freight customers and runs the Le Shuttle car carrier service.
In June 2013, the UK Competition Commission (CC) prohibited Groupe Eurotunnel from operating ferry services from the Port of Dover, due to pricing and competition concerns.
Groupe Eurotunnel appealed the proposed decision, but following a later investigation into UK merger control rules, the CMA rejected SCOP’s proposal to operate the service independently from Eurotunnel. Last June, it banned Groupe Eurotunnel from operating the MyFerryLink ferry services from Dover, UK, to Calais, France, for ten years.
However, it permitted Groupe Eurotunnel to sell the MyFerryLink business to an independent purchaser, providing it with a six-month notice period before the ban comes into effect. This notice period has now begun, prompting the group to sell the business.
“MyFerryLink is an operational and commercial success,” said Jacques Gounon, chairman and CEO of Groupe Eurotunnel. “We are proud to have succeeded where so many others have failed. Given the position of the British authorities, the future of MyFerryLink will now be determined outside the group.”