MEXICO CITY, June 17 Mexican ferry company Baja
Ferries said on Tuesday it hopes to close a deal to buy troubled
French ferry operator SNCM before November or December.
SNCM (Societé Nationale Corse-Méditerranée), which runs
routes from cities on France's Mediterranean coast to Corsica
and northern Africa, has accrued losses of about 250 million
euros ($340.38 million) from 2001 to 2013.
In May, Baja said it was in talks with French transport firm
Transdev about buying its 66 percent stake in
Oscar Ruano, director of Baja Ferries, told Reuters the
company would concentrate on routes between Marseille, Corsica
and north Africa, but could also expand to more ports in
northern Africa, such as in Morocco.
"We're hoping to (close the acquisition) toward the end of
the year," he said, adding that Baja Ferries would try to lower
SNCM's labor costs.
Ruano did not give details about how the company will
finance the purchase. He also did not disclose the size of the
deal, but said for Baja Ferries, which has annual revenue of
some $160 million, SNCM's business would represent $225 million
in sales each year.
Baja Ferries is part of Paris-based Unishipping, a privately
owned shipping group, and operates a Puerto Rico-Dominican
Republic ferry, routes in Mexico's Sea of Cortez and in the
Transdev is a unit of environmental services group Veolia
and is jointly held with state-owned Caisse des depots
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento; Editing by Dan Grebler)