LONDON Dec 4 French transport firm Groupe
Eurotunnel, which operates the undersea rail link
between Britain and France, has successfully appealed against an
antitrust ruling stopping it from also running ferries between
Calais and Dover.
Britain's Competition Commission in June issued the two-year
ban on Eurotunnel docking its ferries at Dover, citing concerns
the company would dominate the Channel crossing with over half
The 50.5 km (31-mile) rail link, which opened in 1994, alone
has a market share of over 40 percent.
Eurotunnel appealed against the ban and Britain's
Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled in its favour on Wednesday,
meaning it can continue to run its three ferries on the
Dover-Calais crossing, one of the busiest international seaways.
The case will now go back to the Competition Commission,
which will reconsider the case and, as directed by the tribunal
judgment, assess whether it has the jurisdiction to review the
matter at all. It is not clear when a final ruling will happen,
and a commission spokesman declined to comment.
As well as Eurotunnel, which operates its vessels under the
MyFerryLink brand, Danish ferry operator DFDS Seaways
and P&O Ferries also run boats on the Dover-Calais crossing,
competing against the rail link for freight and passengers.
"We are delighted by the Competition Appeal Tribunal's
decision which recognises the benefits and practicalities of our
presence in the maritime cross-Channel market," Eurotunnel Chief
Executive Jacques Gounon said.
Shares in the company were down 0.1 percent at 1355 GMT,
outperforming the French bluechip index which was down
In publishing its decision in June, the Competition
Commission said Eurotunnel's purchase of the three ferries in
2012 was motivated by concerns that rival DFDS would otherwise
buy the vessels and drive down prices for customers.
The French antitrust watchdog last year cleared Eurotunnel's
65 million euro ($88 million) acquisition of the three ferries
from SeaFrance, a unit of French railway operator SNCF that went
France's Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier welcomed the
British tribunal's decision, saying having three ferry operators
on the seaway was itself a guarantee for effective competition.
Shares in DFDS were down 5.1 percent at 1347 GMT, against a
1.3 fall in Denmark's bluechip index.
"It's bad for us ... but it does not change our view of the
case. We remain very confident in Competition Commission will
make the same decision as earlier," DFDS Chief Executive Nils