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Eurotunnel to buy SeaFrance ships

[ June 12, 2012   //   ]

The Paris Commercial Court has accepted Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel’s offer for three ships belonging to SeaFrance, which went into administration in January.

Eurotunnel, along with a DFDS-LD Lines consortium and a workers’ cooperative had been potential runners for the SeaFrance ships.

Groupe Eurotunnel offered €65 million to acquire the Berlioz, Rodin and the freighter, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, along with their related assets. The acquisition will be made via Eurotransmanche an ad-hoc financial vehicle owned by the group, which will lease the ferries to an operating company. The group said the company would be independent of Eurotunnel and would create 100 jobs in the UK and 500 in the Calais region.

The ferries will need overhauling before being brought into commercial service, as SeaFrance was unable to complete maintenance work before it went into administration.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel, Jacques Gounon, said:

“I am delighted that the pragmatic approach taken by Eurotunnel has convinced the Commercial Court. This will aid economic development and will further support the transport of people and goods between the continent and Great Britain”.

In earlier interviews, Jacque Gounon had said that he believed that ferries could cater for sectors of the freight market that could not be accommodated on its shuttle services, including larger trucks and dangerous goods. The Nord Pas De Calais is one of the few freight-only ferries operating on the Dover Strait.

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