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Brittany Ferries makes offer for SeaFrance

FRENCH ferry operator Brittany Ferries has made an offer to take over fellow French operator SeaFrance through the creation of a new holding company, in partnership with the company’s existing owner, rail operator SNCF. The central and western English Channel specialist is proposing taking a 75% stake in the new company, with SNCF taking a 25% stake. The company would be set up with a capital of €40m ($52.1m) and would acquire four of the five ships constituting the SeaFrance fleet. Brittany Ferries chairman Jean-Marc Roué said that, after having carried out a major fleet renovation over the last six years, the company considered that it had “real legitimacy” in making an offer for SeaFrance. His company now joins Louis Dreyfus Armateurs as a declared suitor for the Dover Strait ferry operator.
The French government, which announced Brittany Ferries’ bid prematurely two weeks ago, has said that it wants to settle SeaFrance’s future before the end of this month. SeaFrance itself has announced plans to axe 650 jobs out of a total 1,700 to end loss-making and secure its future.

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