Baja Ferries Formalizes Bid for SNCM

Mexican ferry company Baja Ferries has filed a formal takeover offer with the Marseilles bankruptcy court for debt-stricken French ferry operator Société Nationale Maritime Corse Méditerranée (SNCM).

As written by the French newspaper Les Echoes, Baja Ferries Chief Executive Officer Daniel Berrebi confirmed he had written to the court formalising the offer.

As announced, should the offer be approved Berrebi plans to keep 800 of SNCM’s 1,500 staff.

The offer stipulates keeping of the Marseille-Corsica lines and launching of new services from Marseille to Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. However, Baja intends to shut down routes from Nice and Toulon.

Another bid is being prepared as well from a group of unidentified investors lead by Marseilles businessman Christian Garin.

SNCM filed for bankruptcy in November to avoid immediate liquidation and is now undergoing court protection proceedings, launched on Friday.

The debt-laden ferry operator has six months, as decided by the court, to find a buyer for its Mediterranean business.

SNCM was ordered to pay back USD 550 million of French state aid in September

According to a court ruling,  the European Commission had been wrong to approve the aid package as the circumstance under which the financial aid was given to the firm were not in accordance with that applicable to a private investor.

Workers have been urging the state to keep the company afloat and have been staging strikes since June.

World Maritime News Staff

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