Eurotunnel sells MyFerryLink to rival DFDS

Eurotunnel, the operator of the undersea rail link between England and France, yesterday said it had eluctantly agreed to sell its Calais-to-Dover ferry business, MyFerryLink, to DFDS a Danish competitor on the same sea route.

The company was forced to sell the service due to antitrust action.

The price was not revealed.

According to the company, it  had wanted to sell the business to a workers' cooperative, SCOP SeaFrance, rather than to DFDS.

Eurotunnel's move into the ferry market had been on the radar of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) since 2012 when it bought the former SeaFrance ferries from French rail operator SNCF.

According to the ruling of a tribunal earlier this year, the company needed to cease on the grounds it was too dominant in cross-channel traffic.

Eurotunnel announced the MyFerryLink exit plan on 28 May, even though the tribunal's ruling had been overturned by a UK court, which had cleared the way for continued operation.

According to the company it made the decision as it feared the CMA would continue its campaign despite the ruling.

DFDS shares shot to record high after Eurotunnel announced it sale decision.

An official statement from Eurotunnel yesterday said it "regrets that the SCOP SeaFrance has not had the support it needed to be able to present a takeover proposal."

Eurotunnel added, ''The CMA should not oppose the completion of this sale which will lead to two maritime operators of equal importance.

''The Eurotunnel Group believes that the constructive manner in which DFDS conducted itself during the recruitment of ex-SeaFrance personnel in 2012 gives hope for the best solution possible with regard to preserving employment, without interruption to services.

''The Eurotunnel Group, after having supported this activity for three years, hopes that all those involved will support MyFerryLink in a responsible manner through this transition which has been imposed upon it.''

DFDS said, ''DFDS has submitted a binding offer to Eurotunnel for the charter or purchase of the ferries Rodin and Berlioz with an effective date of 2 July 2015 based on terms and conditions agreed with Eurotunnel.''

MyFerryLink has 370 staff board workforce on board with 106 personnel land based.