Eurotunnel is to challenge Competition Commission opposition to its take over of three former SeaFrance ferries on the Dover-Calais route.

The commission yesterday issued provisional findings into the creation of Eurotunnel’s MyFerryLink brand, warning that passengers and freight customers could face higher prices following the deal struck last year.

By adding ferry services to its existing Channel Tunnel rail business, Eurotunnel would “significantly increase” its already high share of the cross channel market and prices would rise, the competition authority said.

Eurotunnel responded by saying it is “not surprised” at the position of the Competition Commission, but will challenge the provisional findings which conclude that the addition of MyFerryLink would be detrimental to competition and could lead to an increase in prices.

The company claims that existing ferry operators in the short sea cross channel market have sought to use the process initiated by the British competition authorities “to protect their own interests from new entrants and increased competition”.

Eurotunnel chairman and chief executive Jacques Gounon said: “Eurotunnel intends to continue to work with the Competition Commission to allay the concerns raised by existing ferry operators and to demonstrate that the creation of MyFerryLink is a good thing for the market as it is both pro-customer and pro-competition.”

The final report from the commission is due to be published by by April 14.