Eurotunnel offers to buy SeaFrance

Eurotunnel offers to buy SeaFrance

Eurotunnel, the operator of the Channel tunnel between Britain and France, is offering to buy all assets of liquidated ferry company SeaFrance for €65 million, a lawyer said on Thursday.

The offer is designed to outmanoeuvre a rival bid by Sweden’s Stena Line and another by French shipping firm Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and Danish ferry company DFDS, which only want to purchase one or two ships, Jacques Tellache, a lawyer representing former SeaFrance employees, told AFP.

“Eurotunnel is offering €65 million ($84 million) for the entirety of the tangible and intangible assets,” Tellache said after a commercial court hearing in Paris.

“This means the three ships but also the buildings, the counters in Britain, the stocks of oil and fuel oil, the computers.”

A Eurotunnel spokeswoman confirmed the company had made a global offer including “ships, stocks and the brand”, and said the firm would create 560 jobs.

Eurotunnel has said it would rent the ships to a workers’ cooperative of ex-SeaFrance employees, SeaFrance SCOP.

SeaFrance, which employed 880 people in France and 130 in Britain, owned three of the four ships it ran across the Channel before a French court ordered it closed in January amid liquidation proceedings.

Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and DFDS are offering €30 million for SeaFrance’s Berlioz ship, €25 million for sister ship Rodin or €50 million for both, a source close to the case said.

Stena Line is offering €30 million euros for Rodin.

The Paris commercial court is due to rule on the matter on May 21.

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