The joint DFDS/Louis Dreyfus Armateurs’ take-over initiative for SeaFrance is one of three bids to be considered in Paris towards the end of October, the others coming from the troubled Calais-Dover operator’s main staff union CFDT and a little-known French group calling itself Being Bang.
Judicial administrators gave CFDT time to submit a bid focussing on the creation of a co-operative of SeaFrance staff who would own and manage the company, retaining all 890 personnel on permanent contracts, with the exception of a number of senior executives, and around 200 workers on fixed term contracts. A union official said: ‘Our bid is not fantasy, but a serious attempt at saving around 1,000 jobs.’
According to CFDT, additional restructuring measures to make the company more attractive to LD Lines’ parent LDA and DFDS include withdrawal of one of its four vessels and a further 200 staff cuts.
DFDS chief financial officer Torben Carlsen hit back, commenting: ‘Our aim is to supplement our strong route between Dover and Dunkirk with an additional strong route between Dover and Calais. Offering both routes will strengthen sales considerably.’
SeaFrance handled 2.9 million passengers and 551,000 freight units during 2010, operating ro-pax vessels SeaFrance Berlioz, SeaFrance Molière and SeaFrance Rodin and freight ro-ro SeaFrance Nord Pas-de-Calais.