Eurotunnel could be forced to sell the ferry business it bought from collapsed operator SeaFrance after the competition watchdog today ruled its purchase would mean “prices would rise” for cross-Channel passengers and freight customers.
SeaFrance went into liquidation in November 2011, and Eurotunnel bought three of its four ferries for €60 million (£52 million) last May. It’s now running them between Dover and Calais under the MyFerryLink brand.
But the operator of the Channel rail tunnel already has more than a 40% share in cross-Channel traffic, the Competition Commission said, and it warned: “adding ferry services to its existing business, Eurotunnel would significantly increase its already high share of the cross-Channel market and prices would rise.”
The commission said that Eurotunnel only decided to buy the SeaFrance ferries to stop rival ferry operator DFDS/LD from doing so.
But Eurotunnel said it will challenge the findings, adding: “The existing ferry operators in the short straits market have sought to use the process initiated by the British competition authorities to protect their own interests from new entrants and increased competition.