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

People & Company News

Coast Guard Foundation to Honor USCG in Miami

The Coast Guard Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that

Maritime Broadband Opens Office in Greece

Maritime Broadband has expanded its worldwide footprint by opening an office, Maritime Broadband Hellas, in Athens, Greece. The new office addresses the growing

Renewable Energy: Schottel Tidal Turbines Ready For Use

In the last months Schottel  successfully tested its hydrokinetic turbines in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. The full-scale tests included 260 operating hours under realistic conditions.

Finance

Weak Oil Threatens US Export of LNG

Plunging global oil prices may turn hopes for cheap liquefied natural gas supplies from the United States into a costly disappointment for Asian buyers who have

Continership Alliance Expands to US Trades

The CKYHE Alliance (COSCO, "K" LINE, Yang Ming, Hanjin Shipping, and Evergreen Line) has announced they will expand their cooperation scope to U.S. Trades and CKYHE

Total CEO Killed in Moscow Runway Accident

Private jet collided with snow plow during takeoff; Total's CEO a defender of Moscow policies. Insiders Boisseau and Pouyanne long seen as potential successors.

News

PES to Begin Operating Benzene Terminal in November

Philadelphia Energy Solutions plans to start operating a new benzene offtake terminal next month at its 335,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Philadelphia, two people familiar with the plans said.

Coast Guard Foundation to Honor USCG in Miami

The Coast Guard Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that

Sunken Barge Salvage Stops Traffic on Chicago River

The U.S. Coast Guard said it is restricting vessel traffic on the Chicago River to allow for salvage of a sunken barge. All cargo has been removed from the sunken

Government Update

Continership Alliance Expands to US Trades

The CKYHE Alliance (COSCO, "K" LINE, Yang Ming, Hanjin Shipping, and Evergreen Line) has announced they will expand their cooperation scope to U.S. Trades and CKYHE

Total CEO Killed in Moscow Runway Accident

Private jet collided with snow plow during takeoff; Total's CEO a defender of Moscow policies. Insiders Boisseau and Pouyanne long seen as potential successors.

India to Develop Iran's Chabahar Port

India will float a company to develop Iran's Chabahar Port, a government statement said on Saturday, as New Delhi aims to take advantage of a thaw in Tehran's relations with world powers.

Ferries

Catamaran Passenger Ferries Delivered in Angola

Incat Crowther announced the delivery a pair of 30m catamaran passenger ferries, Macôco and Panguila, to Instituto Marítimo e Portuário de Angola. The vessels, built by Astilleros Armon in Spain,

Ferry Vital Link for Island off Taiwan

Nearly 13,000 people inhabit the four-by-two-kilometer Linqiu Island located about 7.5 nautical miles southwest of the Donggang on the main island of Taiwan. Primarily fishermen,

For Ferries, Commercial Light at End of Regulatory Tunnel

A review of the ferry industry’s latest challenges and opportunities attracted a record 340 delegates to Vancouver last week for the 39th annual Interferry conference.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar
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: 0.1272 sec (8 req/sec)