Silja Line to be sold

The loss-making shipping company Silja Line is to be sold, its owners Sea Containers have confirmed.

“We hope that they find a good buyer, so we can remain in work,” said Folke Matrosow, of the union Seko Sjöfolk, to TT.

He said he was informed of the decision on Thursday morning after a long period of rumour and speculation.

“The worst thing that could happen is that a shipowner comes in who sells everything off. We hope that doesn’t happen,” said Matrosow.

Ealier this year Silja Line began a wide-ranging savings programme and 500 staff have recently been given their notice as the company focuses on its main Helsingfors-Stockholm, Åbo-Stockholm/Kapellskär and Helsingfors-Tallinn routes.

The goal was to cut annual costs by 200 million kronor by the end of 2007, but according to Folke Matrosow, no concrete plans have yet been presented to the union. Nor has the management of the company given any indication of the timescale for a sale.

Silja’s managing director said in a press release that the main concern of the management was to bring growth back to the company and did not comment on its ownership.

The head of the Scandinavian operations, Kenny Hallberg, was hardly more forthcoming.

“We have decided to sell, but there is no official buyer yet,” he told TT.

TT/The Local