Six hundred jobs at MyFerryLink saved – for the time being – as tribunal overturns Competition Commission decision
Eurotunnel is to continue operating ferry services from Dover after it won an appeal against a Competition Commission ruling.
The commission told the group in June that it would have to stop its MyFerryLink service because of fears that it could use its dominance of cross-Channel transport to increase prices.
The decision threw MyFerryLink’s 600-strong workforce – including 100 staff at Dover – into uncertainty as Eurotunnel was given limited time to sell off its ferry services.
But the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) quashed the decision due to a technical legal point, which means MyFerryLink can operate as normal.
Eurotunnel hailed it as a “victory for the consumer”. Jacques Gounon, chairman and chief executive of Groupe Eurotunnel, said: “We are delighted by the CAT decision, which recognises the benefits and practicalities of our presence in the maritime cross-Channel market.”
But the Competition Commission said it would consider the judgment and address the issues raised by the CAT, which could see the case resurrected. Specifically, the CAT said it was uncertain if the commission was right to have reviewed the transaction at all, given that it was unclear whether Eurotunnel had bought a going concern business when it acquired three boats from collapsed operator SeaFrance in 2012. Eurotunnel has instead argued that it bought only the bare assets.
The commission said on making its ruling earlier this year that it took action to protect consumers, as Eurotunnel’s MyFerryLink venture saw it control more than half of the cross-Channel market. It said it believed Eurotunnel only bought the boats to prevent rival ferry group DFDS/LD from buying them cheaply and driving down ticket prices for passengers.
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