Competition Commission
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CC to reconsider jurisdiction in Eurotunnel case

The Competition Commission (CC) is to reconsider the issue of jurisdiction in its inquiry into Groupe Eurotunnel’s (GET’s) acquisition of three ferries and other assets from the former ferry operator, SeaFrance.

The CC will be looking at whether GET, together with a workers’ cooperative formed by former SeaFrance employees (known as SCOP), acquired an ‘enterprise’ falling within UK merger control, after the issue was remitted back to the CC by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in December.

In its final decision published in June last year, the CC decided that by adding ferry services to its existing Channel Tunnel business, GET would increase its market share to over half and prices would rise for cross-Channel passengers and freight customers.

Following a legal challenge to the CC decision by GET and SCOP, the CAT issued a judgment in December in which it asked the CC to look again at whether the acquisition involved a merger.

The CC has today published the approach it will be taking on this remittal. The CC aims to make its decision by the end of April.

The remittal document is available on the Eurotunnel home page along with all other information on the inquiry. The CC is inviting responses by 22 January 2014.

MyFerryLink started a ferry service on the Dover–Calais route in August 2012, using two ships acquired by Eurotunnel which were previously owned by SeaFrance before the ferry company was placed in liquidation in November 2011. They are operated by SCOP, a cooperative including many former employees of SeaFrance. GET also operates passenger and freight train services through the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone and Calais.

Notes for editors

1. The CC is an independent public body, which carries out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries.

2. The Enterprise Act 2002 empowers the Office of Fair Trading to refer to the CC completed or proposed mergers for investigation and report which create or enhance a 25 per cent share of supply in the UK (or a substantial part thereof) or where the UK turnover associated with the enterprise being acquired is over £70 million.

3. The members of the Eurotunnel Remittal Inquiry Group are: Alasdair Smith (Chairman of the Group and CC Chairman), Robin AaronsonIvar Grey and Malcolm Nicholson.

4. Further information on this inquiry, including the Conduct of the Remittal and other key documents, as well as on the CC and its procedures (including its policy on the provision of information and the disclosure of evidence) can be obtained from the CC website at: www.competition-commission.org.uk.

5. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor or Siobhan Allen on 020 7271 0242.