On 1st December the European Commission approved the takeover of the France-Corsica ferry operator by Corsican entrepreneur Patrick Rocca, which would guarantee the required “economic discontinuity” between SNCM’s old and new shareholders and clear the way for the Commission to withdraw its 2013 order that SNCM repay 440 million Euros worth of illegal state aid. The ruling also clears the way for SNCM majority shareholder Transdev, jointly owned by water and waste group Veolia and French state bank CDC, to sell SNCM.
The company has been under court protection since late 2014, when it failed to repay a loan to Transdev, which owns 66% of SNCM. Unions also said that an agreement had been reached under which Patrick Rocca is to make 583 of SNCM’s 1,500 staff redundant. The latest SNCM strike action ended on 3rd December after 12 days, such action further worsening the condition of the struggling company, all very Seafranceesque.