Eurotunnel has rejected the findings of the Competition Commission that by adding ferry services to its existing Channel Tunnel business, Eurotunnel would significantly increase its already high share of the cross-Channel market and prices would rise.
The CC’s provisional findings relate to Eurotunnel’s acquisition of SeaFrance assets. It concluded that Eurotunnel’s MyFerryLink service should be withdrawn from the market.
Eurotunnel said MyFerryLink currently represented four per cent of the Dover-Continent truck market, compared to 32 per cent for P&O and 22.4 per cent for DFDS and argued that its activities did not threaten either of those two operators.
It said: “In contrast to the Competition Commission, Groupe Eurotunnel considers that it has increased competition in the ferry market. Maintaining MyFerryLink, which is targeting a market share of just 8 per cent, in the short straits market, can only be positive for customers who have, in research conducted by the Competition Commission itself, declared their satisfaction with the arrival of a new competitor.”
It said that following the liquidation of SeaFrance, “Groupe Eurotunnel took part in an open and transparent tender process for the assets of the defunct company, organised by the Paris Commercial Court. Groupe Eurotunnel put forward the best offer.
And it pointed out that the Paris Commercial Court included, in the sale agreement for the SeaFrance assets, a prohibition on the sale or any form of alienation of the ships to protect the jobs created by the establishment of the new company in both France and the UK.
“Following an in depth analysis by the French Competition Authorities, the acquisition was approved with certain restrictions, in particular the requirement not to market a bundle of Tunnel/Ferry options.”
It concluded: “Groupe Eurotunnel is confident that the Competition Commission will not prescribe restrictions which would be disproportionate or legally inapplicable.”