French court postpones SeaFrance decison for third time

 08 Jun 2012 02.17pm

  • Paris commercial court set to deliver verdict next week

A French court has delayed its decision for a preferred bidder for the three former SeaFrance ferries for a third time.

Following two previous postponements last month, the Paris commercial court has announced that it will finally deliver its verdict on June 11th.

Stena Line subsidiary Stena Ro-Ro, Eurotunnel and DFDS Seaways have all submitted bids for the collapsed ferry operator’s vessels.

“The court is looking for a solution which will allow it to accept Eurotunnel’s offer and requires more time to do so, thus the fresh postponement,” a source told Lloyds Loading List.

“The problem is Eurotunnel’s bid was relatively low in monetary value and does not provide scope to reimburse SeaFrance’s lower-tier shareholders.”

“If Eurotunnel, had put say €80 million on the table then the matter would very likely have been settled by now,” the source added.

Eurotunnel reportedly bid €61 million for all three SeaFrance vessels, the Berlioz, Rodin and Nord Pas de Calais, and an additional €4 million for the firm’s assets. Eurotunnel plans to use the vessels on its proposed Dover to Calais ferry service.

Stena, who made an eleventh hour offer, bid €30 million for the Rodin, while DFDS offered €25 million and a further €30 million for the Berloiz.

However, all three offers on the table fall well short of SeaFrance’s liabilities, thought to be in the region of €150 million.

The source said that a decision will depend on SNCF, the owner of SeaFrance, and whether it is willing to forego part or all of the debts it is owed by SeaFrance.

“Failing an agreement, the bankruptcy judge could order a second round of bidding or hold an auction for the vessels.”
 

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