UPDATE 1-Veolia's Transdev in talks with Unishipping about SNCM sale

lunes 26 de mayo de 2014 09:06 GYT

* US-Mexico's Baja Ferries in talks about buying SNCM

* Logistics specialist Olivier Diehl to become SNCM CEO

* Source says SNCM has enough cash for coming months (Adds detail on new chief executive, cash position)

By Geert De Clercq

PARIS, May 26 (Reuters) - U.S.-Mexico ferry operator Baja Ferries is in talks with French transport firm Transdev about buying its 66 percent stake in loss-making France-Corsica ferry operator SNCM.

Operator of a ferry line between Topolobampo, Mexico, and the city of La Paz on the Baja peninsula in California, Baja Ferries is part of Paris-based Unishipping, a privately owned shipping group which also operates a Puerto Rico-Dominican Republic ferry and has turnover of about $160 million.

"Our proposal for SNCM seems well accepted by Transdev and was presented to the government," Unishipping Chief Executive Daniel Berrebi told Reuters on Monday.

A source close to Transdev confirmed the talks. "Unishipping is a serious candidate," he said.

SNCM racked up cumulative losses of 250 million euros ($341 million) between 2001 and 2013 and has made a small profit only once in the past decade. Last year the government, which has a direct 25 percent stake in the ferry operator, gave the company 30 million euros to keep it sailing.   Continuación...