France Offers Italy Naval Ship Deal to Resolve STX Row

PARIS --- France will offer to expand shipbuilding cooperation with Italy into naval vessels, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, after Paris thwarted a tie-up it is now seeking to renegotiate between the STX France shipyard and Italian rival Fincantieri.

Le Maire, who will reopen negotiations in Rome on Aug. 1, described the offer as "a gesture of openness by the president", in an interview published on Sunday by Le Journal du Dimanche.

President Emmanuel Macron has angered Rome by ordering STX's "temporary" nationalization, cancelling a deal in which Fincantieri and another Italian investor had agreed to buy stakes totaling 54.6 percent of the business.

Paris exercised a pre-emption right to repurchase the controlling stake in the shipyard acquired by Fincantieri from bankrupt South Korean parent STX, after failing to renegotiate the shareholder pact agreed under France's last government. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Although popular, the French government’s position makes little sense as Fincantieri is the sole bidder for STX France, which is being sold off because of the bankruptcy of STX Group, its South Korean corporate parent.
Although it now principally makes cruise ships, STX France also built the Mistral-class LHDs and France’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the “Charles de Gaulle,” as it has one of Europe’s largest shipbuilding dry-dock.
France’s plan, which sources say is to combine STX, Naval Group (formerly DCNS) and Fincantieri will probably be turned down by Italy, whose naval shipyards are more efficient and are said to have lower structural costs.)


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