Veolia's Control of Corsica Ferry Company up to Board Vote

Posted by Eric Haun
Monday, May 12, 2014
Image: SNCM

Government representatives on the board of Corsica ferry operator SNCM will vote on Monday to decide whether Veolia can retake control of the troubled business.

The vote is tricky for the government as siding with Veolia could lead to protests by SNCM unions in Marseille ahead of European elections in two weeks.

Veolia wants to put loss-making SNCM (Societe Nationale Maritime Corse Mediterranee) under court protection to shield it from a European Commission order to repay 440 million euros ($605 million) of state aid. Veolia has also said it will not put any more money into the ferry company.

Veolia owns 66 percent of SNCM via transport firm Transdev - itself a 50-50 joint venture between Veolia and French state holding company CDC. But Veolia has not been able to impose its will at SNCM because the chairman of the ferry company's board sides with the unions and has voted against his employer.

SNCM's unions say the French government and SNCM's appeal against the European Commission's state aid ruling will succeed and that SNCM needs more time. They also want the government to renationalise SNCM.

The board will also vote on Monday on whether to renew the mandate of SNCM chief executive Marc Dufour. Dufour told regional newspaper La Provence that he had little hope of getting it.

"I hope it will be, but I doubt it. My departure would be a bad sign for the future of the company, it will lead people to think they want to make SNCM disappear," he said.

Transdev has seven seats on SNCM's 14-member board, but with chairman Gerard Couturier expected to back Dufour, it will need the three state representatives to at least abstain to end Dufour's mandate, a source close to Transdev told Reuters.

An attempt to oust Couturier in April failed as the state representatives abstained from a vote to replace him with a Transdev representative.

The French state has 25 percent of SNCM's capital, while the ferry operator's staff own 9 percent of capital and have four board seats.

The transport ministry was not available for comment.

Transdev and Veolia have said SNCM's long-term business plan was not credible as it is based on unrealistic forecasts for ferry traffic growth.

But 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 also provides work for some 2,400 suppliers and subcontractors.

Ahead of SNCM's partial privatisation in 2006, there were weeks of strikes and protests in Corsica and Marseille. One of the firm's ferries was hijacked and in the Corsican city of Ajaccio a rocket was fired at the offices of the city's top French representative.

"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)

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Green Marine, ACPA Partner to Reduce Environmental Footprint

Green Marine and the Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the goal of jointly expanding efforts

SC Ports’ Earnings, Volumes Surpass Plans

July cargo volumes deliver strong start to new fiscal year SC Ports Authority reported 2014 fiscal year-end operating earnings of $14.3 million, 20.7 percent over the organization's financial plan.

Jacques R. Saadé Visits the CMA CGM Columba

During the CMA CGM Columba call in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 19, Jacques R. Saadé, CMA CGM Group's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, visited the 11,400 TEU ship.

Finance

SC Ports’ Earnings, Volumes Surpass Plans

July cargo volumes deliver strong start to new fiscal year SC Ports Authority reported 2014 fiscal year-end operating earnings of $14.3 million, 20.7 percent over the organization's financial plan.

GoM Sale Yields $110m in High Bids

As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, today’s Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238 attracted $109,

Traders Store Crude for Profit as Contango Takes Hold

Oil traders have begun fixing tankers to take North Sea, West African and Arab crudes to South Africa for storage, hoping for a repeat of the multimillion dollar bonanza they reaped in 2008-2009.

News

Water Monitoring to Continue at Western Gulf Ports

A water monitoring network that helps keep port traffic moving is the responsibility of the Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Green Marine, ACPA Partner to Reduce Environmental Footprint

Green Marine and the Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the goal of jointly expanding efforts

SC Ports’ Earnings, Volumes Surpass Plans

July cargo volumes deliver strong start to new fiscal year SC Ports Authority reported 2014 fiscal year-end operating earnings of $14.3 million, 20.7 percent over the organization's financial plan.

Government Update

GoM Sale Yields $110m in High Bids

As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, today’s Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238 attracted $109,

Refiners Seek Jones Act Workarounds as Crude Export Debate Heats Up

As the first U.S. oil condensate exports head to Asia from the Gulf Coast, crude producers and refiners are exploring ways to get around a century-old law that

Russia Sanctions Could Slow Norwegian Arctic Exploration

Western sanctions against Russia may slow down exploration for oil and gas on both the Norwegian and Russian side of the Arctic Barents Sea, lobby group Norwegian Oil & Gas told Reuters on Wednesday.

Ferries

Liquiline to Construct Denmark's First LNG Bunker Terminal

Liquiline says it has entered into a contract with Fjord Line to design, construct and commission an LNG ship bunkering terminal for Fjord Line AS at the Port of Hirtshals, Denmark.

WSF Engineers Work 24/7 on Engine Repairs

Overnight engine repairs and a meeting with Ferry Advisory Committee executives are detailed In this excerpt from the latest 'Washington State Ferries Weekly Update', by Capt.

Brazilian Ferry Launched

AFAI Southern Shipyard and CoCo Yachts Holland announced that the first Urban Sprinter 2000, yard number ASA 042, was launched August 14, 2014. The Urban Sprinter

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.2716 sec (4 req/sec)