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Goodbye Seafrance - SeaFrance placed into liquidation


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Seafrance, the troubled French ferry company, was put into liquidation by a Paris commercial court which rejected two bids to save the cross-Channel operator.


The company, which employs more than 1,000 people, is now set to halt its Calais to Dover services on January 28 unless a more attractive bid than those currently on offer emerges.


New bids to take over the company will be accepted until December 12, said the court, as it rejected the two existing offers.


French shipping firm Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and Danish ferry company DFDS Seaways had made a joint €5m (£4.3m) offer for some of the firm's assets and planned to keep on half its workforce.


SeaFrance currently employs 880 permanent staff, and 200 on seasonal contracts. However, the court ruled the plans could cause industrial action which would damage the firm.


The second offer, organised by the trade union involved, CFDT, would have turned the ferry operator into a workers' co-operative, but the court said there was no capital to finance this.


SeaFrance was put into receivership last year after suffering from competition from the Channel Tunnel. Its management previously attempted to buy out the company with backing from its parent company SNCF, the French state-owned rail firm, but Brussels rejected the restructuring plan as it was based on state aid. The French government said it will appeal the ruling.


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