Eurotunnel is preparing for the post-Brexit era with a corporate rebrand, with the company being renamed Getlink.
The French company, which operates the Channel Tunnel, has chosen the admirably Anglo-Saxon name to “mark the group’s passage into an exciting new era for mobility infrastructures”.
The change of branding will be only at group level, with customers looking to take its shuttle service between Folkestone and Calais continuing to book with Eurotunnel’s Le Shuttle service.
However, the rebranding recalls other identity crises that met with varying degrees of acceptance – particularly the Post Office’s dalliance with the name Consignia. Adopted in 2001 to public bemusement, it was dropped a year later.
A Eurotunnel – or Getlink – spokesman said the rebranding was necessary because the group now owned companies beyond the tunnel. They include Europorte, which runs freight through the tunnel, and ElecLink, a projected power line to connect the French and UK national grids.
For cross-Channel passengers of a certain vintage, the name may also recall the doomed Sealink ferry service which went out of operation in the 1990s around the time the tunnel started operating.
A spokesman confirmed that directors themselves had come up with the new name, which was unanimously approved by Getlink’s Anglo-French board, including the former British government ministers Patricia Hewitt and Tim Yeo.
He said: “No massive expensive brand identity organisation came in. It’s Get – go and acquire – and Link. It’s not fancy, it’s not invented. It’s very Anglo-Saxon – and a large part of our customer base and investor base is Anglo-Saxon.”
The initials GET are already used on stock exchanges for Groupe Eurotunnel, and the new name is also believed to be easily pronounceable by its French chief executive, Jacques Gounon. In a statement, Gounon said: “Getlink is all that is Eurotunnel and more than just Eurotunnel!”
The spokesman said the new name would allow the company and investors to “stop thinking about the past and start thinking about the future in a positive way”.
While Eurotunnel’s refinancing and debts made it a byword for disastrous investment from 1994 to 2000 – and has been affected by Brexit and Europe’s migrant crisis in recent years – the group has annual revenues of more than €1bn (£886m) and provides good returns to shareholders.
The group, which was forced to give up its own ferry service by competition authorities, also owns Ciffco, a European railway training centre, along with its rail freight and power businesses. It has the concession to operate the Channel Tunnel until 2086.
Confusingly for many, it does not operate Eurostar trains, only the train shuttles that carry vehicle traffic. That confusion may yet continue for passengers looking to book, as the spokesman confirmed: “The Eurotunnel brand is one of our jewels so that won’t change.”
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