Veolia Retakes Control of Corsica Ferry Company

Posted by Eric Haun
Monday, May 12, 2014

The board of France-Corsica ferry operator SNCM on Monday voted out its chief executive who had sided with trade unions, allowing shareholder Veolia to retake control and restructure the loss-making firm.

Veolia wants to put Societe Nationale Corse Mediterranee under court protection to shield it from a European Commission order to repay 440 million euros ($605 million) of state aid and is looking for a buyer of a restructured SNCM.

Transport firm Transdev - itself a 50-50 joint venture between Veolia and state-backed Caisse des Depots (CDC) - owns 66 percent of SNCM but Transdev has not been able to impose its will at SNCM because the ferry company's chief executive and board chairman have sided with its unions and ignored instructions of their employer.

Transdev said it will appoint a new SNCM chief executive shortly and look for a solution for the firm, which has piled up losses for more than a decade and would go bankrupt if the EU order were executed.

"We want to allow SNCM to build a future, which involves neither a liquidation nor a jump into the dark," Transdev chief executive Jean-Marc Janaillac said in a statement.

An earlier attempt to oust SNCM board chairman Gerard Couturier failed as the French state representatives did not back the private shareholders, but Monday's vote to not renew the mandate of Chief Executive Marc Dufour succeeded as the state representatives abstained in the vote.

"It is normal that the management of a company can work in confidence with its principal shareholder," Transport Minister Frederic Cuviller said in a statement.

He added that the government would keep a close eye on the new management's plans for SNCM.

Veolia has said the old management's plan to buy four new ships at a total cost of up to 800 million euros was not realistic as it was based on unrealistic forecasts for ferry traffic growth and the firm lacks financing.

Both Veolia and CDC have said they will put no more new money into SNCM.

Last month, Transdev said it was in talks with Norway's Siem Shipping about the sale of its stake in the ferry operator but specified a sale would depend mainly on finding a solution for the state aid the Commission wants SNCM to repay.

Veolia argues the only way to shield SNCM from repayment is through court protection. SNCM's unions say the government and SNCM's appeal against the EU ruling can succeed and SNCM needs more time. They also want the government to renationalise SNCM by getting CDC to take a direct stake in the firm.

SNCM's CFE-CGM had warned the state against a decision that would give "free hand to a failing shareholder" and "opens to door to a rapid dismantling of the company".

The SNCM saga is a thorn in the side of the socialist government of President Francois Hollande, who fears social unrest in Marseille with European elections just two weeks away.

Local politicians in Marseille led by conservative mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin have called on the state to help SNCM, which employs 2,600 staff and provides work for some 2,400 suppliers.

Ahead of SNCM's partial privatisation in 2006, there were weeks of strikes and protests in Corsica and Marseille.

"The French government is petrified by the thought of a major social conflict that would paralyse Marseille," French daily Le Parisien quoted an insider as saying.

($1 = 0.7269 Euros)

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq. Editing by Jane Merriman and David Evans)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter April 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Chevron Suffers Loss, Plans Job Cuts

Chevron Corp. reported a first-quarter loss as slumping oil prices continued to drag down revenue. The company said that it is "on target" to lay off a total of 8000 workers by the end of 2016,

China COSCO to be First through the Expanded Panama Canal

China COSCO Shipping has won the draw for its container vessel Andronikos to make the ceremonial first transit through the Expanded Panama Canal during the waterway’s inauguration on Sunday, June 26.

Sellick Equipment to Open New Facility

On April, 20, 2016, at the young age of 97 years, Walter Sellick along with sons Howard Sellick - President, David Sellick - Vice President and grandson Colin Sellick - Systems Manager,

Finance

Shipping, Key Ingredient of EU’s Africa Agenda

The African economy has become one of the most promising global growth markets. Shipping is taking care of the largest part of international trade and in Africa

Ocean Economy Set to Double in Size by 2030

The world’s oceans must be managed well to ensure the potential of an “ocean economy” that was worth US $ 1.5 trillion in 2010.   "Calculations based on the

Chevron Suffers Loss, Plans Job Cuts

Chevron Corp. reported a first-quarter loss as slumping oil prices continued to drag down revenue. The company said that it is "on target" to lay off a total of 8000 workers by the end of 2016,

Passenger Vessels

Norovirus Outbreak on Fred. Olsen Cruise Ship

An outbreak of the norovirus stomach bug has sickened 160 people aboard a Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ship docked at Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. health officials and the company said on Friday.

Royal Caribbean's Revenue up 5.6%

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd reported a 5.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue, helped by higher passenger ticket revenue and onboard spending, sending the company's

Fincantieri Orders Heat Power Systems for Cruise Newbuilds

Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri has selected Climeon’s heat power system Climeon Ocean for its energy efficient solutions, purchasing six Climeon Ocean 450M

News

Italian Ship Rescues 26 Migrants off Libya

An Italian merchant ship rescued 26 migrants off the coast of Libya in rough seas and others were feared missing, the Coast Guard said on Saturday. The Coast

Symphony Sun’ Launched in Leer

On Friday the 29th of April, Nb. 420 was launched in Leer. She was christened ‘Symphony Sun’ and is the fourth vessel in a series of 6 that will be delivered to Symphony Shipping.

ACR to Debut Pathfinder PRO SART at OTC

An important addition to any commercial vessel’s survival gear kit, the Pathfinder PRO SART is introduced by ACR Electronics, Inc. at this year’s OTC. The new search

Government Update

Holland America Line Kicks off Seattle's Record Cruise Season

The Port of Seattle begins the 2016 cruise season welcoming the first ship call, Holland America Cruise Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam. Larger vessels and more cruises

MARAD: $5 Mln Available for Marine Highway Projects

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced the availability of $5 million in Federal funding to expand marine highway service by creating new or expanding

Pacific Nations Take a Stand on Shipping Emissions

On Earth Day, Pacific leaders queued among 175 countries to sign the Paris Agreement in New York. Earlier that day in London, the International Maritime Organization (IMO),

Ferries

Ferry Conference: Technology Drives Vessel Advancements

On June 2-3, 2016,  the Ferry Safety and Technology Conference will be held in downtown Manhattan.   Throughout the world, the quickening pace of technological

Officer Sentenced for Role in Fatal Ferry Crash

The second officer who admitted his actions were responsible for the death of a fisherman, has been sent to prison.   Pasquale Miccio pleaded guilty to a breach

Scandlines’ Ferry leaves FAYARD Shipyard

The new Scandlines ferry for the route Rostock-Gedser left the Danish shipyard FAYARD on Wednesday 20 April 2016. The vessel will be named M/V Berlin on Tuesday 3 May 2016.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1305 sec (8 req/sec)