MyFerryLink confident of 'positive outcome' to competition probe

MyFerryLink confident of 'positive outcome' to competition probe

The managing director of the newest Dover-Calais ferry operator said he was hopeful of a “positive outcome” to the UK Competition Commission’s probe into Eurotunnel’s entry into the market place.

Robin Wilkins, managing director of MyFerryLink, said they had received a positive response to the submissions made by Eurotunnel, who own the ships, and staff, who all have a share in the company.

The competition watchdog launched a probe into Eurotunnel’s purchase of three ferries from defunct SeaFrance after competitors voiced concerns that combined with MyFerryLink their market share would “bring about distortion” in the market place.

Speaking at the company's media launch, Wilkins said: “The authorities in the UK came out with a somewhat different interim finding (to the French government) and they found it would be better if the owner was independently owned. But when Eurotunnel bought the ships it agreed it would not sell them for five years, until 2017.

“Eurotunnel has made its own submissions and as SCOP, our co-operative society, we have also made our own submissions and we have received a good response from the Competition Commission.

“I think we can look forward to a positive outcome, hopefully in June,” he added.

In April the commission put forward a number of other remedies for consultation after recognising their preferred option of forcing the channel tunnel operator to divest the business would clash with the rulings made by a French commercial court when the deal was struck.

One would see Eurotunnel forced to divest after the lock-up period expired in 2017, with price controls in the interim. Another would force MyFerryLink, which began operating on August 20, off certain routes.

Eurotunnel also put forward a further resolution for a “complete separation of commercial staff and management” between the parent and ferry operator.

Wilkins said the difference between MyFerryLink and SeaFrance was that the staff now had an interest in the future of the business.

He said: “We have 500 employees and all these people have a direct vested interest in the company.

“If the company isn’t successful, then they will not be successful.”

The Competition Commission is expected to complete its probe on June 9.

Eurotunnel paid £65 million for the three ferries – Berlioz, Rodin and Nord-Pas-de-Calais. The ships went on sale at an open auction – held after SeaFrance went into liquidation - which saw several companies bid for them.

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