Greece’s competition authority on Thursday approved the acquisition of sole control over Greek ferry operator Hellenic Seaways (HSW) by Attica Group.
Last year, Attica Group, which already operates the Blue Star and Superfast ferry lines, reached an agreement with Grimaldi Group for the acquisition of its stake in HSW, which – if approved – would lead to it controling 98.83 percent of the ferry operator.
The competition authority’s decision is conditional on compliance with commitments involving for Attica Group to not increase ferry ticket fares and to facilitate the entry of competitors onto specific ferry routes, on which Attica is currently the only operator.
The competition authority was concerned that the announced deal might hamper the entry of competitors onto Greek ferry routes.
Specifically, Attica is obliged to limit the frequency of its approaches to certain islands of the Cyclades and the North Aegean, provided that competitors will cover these destinations with appropriate vessels offering adequate services.
At the same time, Attica is obliged to add routes to island connections in Greece, which are either not serviced today or are occasionally served.
“Attica Group has proven its commitment to working in conditions of healthy competition, working with responsibility and with respect to institutional bodies, social partners and local communities,” Attica Group CEO Spyros Paschalis said in an announcement.
Greece’s competition authority will approve the appointment of a trustee to ensure that the terms of the commitments are honored by Attica Group’s side. In the event of non-compliance, Attica Group may be charged a fine up to 10,000 euros for each day of disobedience.
“The completion of the acquisition of sole control over HSW by Attica Group in accordance with its business plan, creates the conditions for sustainable development of the Greek passenger ferry industry, supports the national economy, strengthens the local communities of island, employs local seamen and ensures the interests of shareholders through a strong and competitive production model,” Paschalis added.
Following approval, Attica Group, will proceed with the completion of the required contractual actions to acquire 98.83 percent of HSW’s share capital.
Attica Group is a subsidiary of Marfin Investment Group.