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SeaFrance restructure blocked by EU

A restructuring plan by cross-channel ferry operator SeaFrance was rejected yesterday by European Union anti-trust regulators. The overhaul breached EU state aid rules as the company had not contributed enough to the plan, according to reports.

The European Union executive opened an investigation into a €223 million recapitalisation plan in June. French rail operator SNCF owns SeaFrance which operates on the Calais-Dover route.

“Despite repeated requests from the (European) Commission, France has been unable to show that the financial contribution of the company was exempted from state aid and that it reflected market confidence about its future viability,” the Commission said in a statement.

The news emerged as the ferry company’s services faced disruption today due to industrial action. The company operates three passenger and vehicle carrying ferries and handles more than 3.5 million passengers a year on the short sea route between the UK and France.

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