Silja Line to be sold
Sea Containers Ltd., the American owner of the Silja Line shipping line, has announced that it will sell the company.
Previously Sea Containers had said that it would decide by the end of October what to do with its unprofitable, or poorly performing operations.
Sea Containers also announced measures aimed at putting Silja into shape for the sale. The ships Silja Opera, Finnjet, and Walrus will be sold if a buyer is found.
Silja will also reduce personnel and close offices in Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Between 100 and 150 jobs will be cut in Finland. The sale of the Silja Opera will lead to the loss of 400 jobs.
The number of fast Sea Cat vessels operating between Helsinki and Tallinn will be reduced from three to two.
Silja plans to focus on its main routes: Helsinki-Stockholm, Turku-Stockholm, and Helsinki-Tallinn.
Efforts will be made to get the Silja Serenade and Silja Symphony, which operate between Helsinki and Stockholm, to be profitable again. Silja has already agreed on a refurbishment of the ships' common areas in January and February.
The aim of the efficiency programme is to cut costs to the tune of EUR 23 million by 2007.
The management of Silja Line did not want to comment on possible buyer candidates.
The company's CEO Antti Pankakoski says that the cost-cutting measures are an opportunity for considerable improvements in the company's result.
"Silja Line's product brand is strong, and demand on the market is stable. The core routes will be profitable, when the units that are unnecessary from their point of view are dropped", he says.
Silja Line has suffered from tough competition in the Baltic Sea. Discussions with representatives of personnel began in September on cutting jobs.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Sea Containers considers sale of Silja Line (25.10.2005)
Silja Line´s Finnjet to provide emergency housing for Louisiana medical school (19.9.2005)
Finnish ferry operators post heavy losses as margins tighten (8.6.2005)
Sea Containers Ltd. press release: SEA CONTAINERS TO RESTRUCTURE FERRIES DIVISION