Job vacancy columns will be earnestly scanned by those in the marketing
departments of P&O and Stena Lines following the merger announcement on
3 October. The job losses were headline items in five articles the
following day. Three papers led with the fact that ferry prices would
rise, with only the Sun leading with the view that fares would fall.
However, both the redundancies and a reduction in services were seen in
a positive light, by all except Jimmy Knapp of the RMT. There was an
immediate uplifting effect on both companies’ share price, together with
general support from sector analysts who saw the merger as the only way
to combat the power of Eurotunnel and as a powerful move by P&O’s
chairman Lord Sterling, who has been under pressure from shareholders
Most commentators agreed that Eurotunnel’s power was such that only a
‘super carrier’ rival could hope to match its 45 per cent market share.
Minnows, such as Sally and Sea France, would be left to swim.
Evaluation and analysis by Carma International. Cuttings supplied by The
Broadcast Monitoring Company. ‘What The Papers Say’ can also be found