Société Nationale Maritime Corse Méditerranée (SNCM): Sink or Sail?

Published 26 Jul 2019
Reference 6500
Industry Maritime
Region Europe
Summary

The case describes how a loss-making ferry company was brought back to financial health, modernised and recapitalised in less than two years, amidst a context of political pressure, stakeholder hostility and a €600 million fine from the European Union. The Société Nationale Maritime Corse Méditerranée (SNCM) was sinking under the weight of French blockades and belligerent unions. Ferries were hijacked and a million people took to the streets to protest against potential job losses, disrupting passenger services to/from Corsica at the peak of the summer season. In May 2014, Guillaume de Feydeau was appointed CEO to devise a turnaround plan to save the former state-owned company from bankruptcy. The new management team not only had to master the political and social intricacies of the situation, but time was of the essence: the majority shareholder wanted out and cash was running dangerously low.

Teaching objectives

The case focuses on: • How to develop a turnaround plan. • How to analyse stakeholders’ positions. • How to navigate through a politically sensitive environment. Key takeaway: • Aligning all stakeholders around a common objective is vital to succeed with a turnaround plan, as well as ensuring on-going, open and transparent communication.

Keywords
  • Turnaround
  • Restructuring
  • Bankruptcy
  • Nationalisation
  • Trade unions
  • Corsica
  • Local government
  • European Commission/Union
  • Privatization
  • State aid
  • EU regulation
  • Q41819