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Eurotunnel wants 9.7 million euros compensation for migrant disruption

French police try to persuade a migrant to get off a lorry held up by ferry strikers in July 2015 Reuters/Vincent Kessler

The company that runs the cross-Channel rail tunnel wants the British and French governments to pay it nearly 10 million euros compensation for disruption caused by migrants trying to reach Britain from Calais. Eurotunnel announced profits of 39 million euros for the first half of 2015 on Wednesday.

Eurotunnel announced 39 million euros' profit for the first six months of this year, compared to a loss of 11 million euros in the same period of 2014.

So the company belives it is on course to reach its targets of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of 535 million euros in 2014 and 580 million euros in 2016.

But Eurotunnel says it has spent 13 million euros this year on efforts to prevent migrants trying to board trains crossing the English Channel - as much as it spent in the whole of 2014.

So it wants the British and French governments to pay it 9.7 million euros in compensation.

Two-thirds of that sum would be for security costs, such as erecting fences, and one-third for losses, for example those incurred by trains being held up while they are searched for stowaways.

Britain has already agreed to pay 4.7 million euros, the company says.

But it points out that nearly all its problems are in the French port of Calais and accuses the French government of playing down the number of migrants camped out there.

Eurotunnel won a similar demand for compensation about a decade ago.

The company has another problem at the moment - blockades by striking workers at its MyFerryLink subsidiary.

They object to it selling two if its three ferries to Danish operator DFDS, leading to about half of them losing their jobs.