Eurotunnel to appeal

Eurotunnel's ban on operating ferries from the port of Dover in the UK has been upheld.

The French group called the decision by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) "absurd" on Friday, but will now have to decide whether to sell the business.

The company will have six months to stop calls by two ships operating under the MyFerryLink name.

The ban arises from its acquisition of three ro-paxes from defunct line SeaFrance in 2012.

The original competition decision was made last year, but has been subject to review over jurisdiction questions.

The CMA said: "Eurotunnel will be given six months to stop running services from the date of an order to that effect. It could also find another owner for the MyFerryLink business, if that made MyFerryLink completely independent of Eurotunnel."

The competition authority found Eurotunnel's market share was likely to drive either P&O or the DFDS/LD Lines tie-up off the Dover to Calais route.

Alasdair Smith, CMA panel deputy chairman, added: "That will leave Eurotunnel, which is funding MyFerryLink's current losses, as one of only two ferry operators in addition to owning the competing rail link.

"Eurotunnel's purchase of the ferries means it now has over half the market and its share will rise further if competitors exit."

Eurotunnel said its competitors had strong positions "that are in no way threatened by MyFerryLink."

"The analysis made by the CMA is the opposite of that made by its French counterpart, even though it relates to the same market."

It confirmed it would appeal again.

DFDS said the decision was good news.

"We can now start to carry out our plans for the future. For the sake of all stakeholders, we hope the decision will be implemented as swiftly as possible,” added CEO Niels Smedegaard.

DFDS believes the ban will only take place in the first quarter of 2015.