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Eurotunnel acquisition faces regulatory hurdle

The acquisition of three former SeaFrance ferries by Eurotunnel is to be probed by competition chiefs.

30 October 2012

Posted by David Gleck

The merger and acquisition of Eurotunnel and assets of failed ferry company SeaFrance has been referred to the Competition Commission after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

After SeaFrance went out of business earlier this year, Eurotunnel entered Business negotiations to buy three of its ferries and these now run under the MyFerryLink name.

However, the OFT has passed the case on to the regulator on the grounds that only P&O currently constitutes a true competitor to Eurotunnel in the cross-channel travel market, something SeaFrance before it went out of business.

OFT chief economist and decision maker Amelia Fletcher remarked: "We are concerned that the merger could further strengthen Eurotunnel's position in the market for cross channel transport and prices could go up as a result."

However, Eurotunnel was not the only company seeking to take advantage after SeaFrance collapsed.

LD Lines and DFDS seaways merged their cross-channel services from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk in a bid to increase their market share.

Source: Office of Fair Trading, October 29

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