France and Fincantieri close to STX France compromise

STX France Saint Nazaire STX France Saint Nazaire

MARCH 6, 2017 — France's Le Monde newspaper reports that a compromise solution is in the works that will see the acquisition of shipbuilder STX France by a group in which Fincantieri will be the largest shareholder.

According to the Le Monde report, Fincantieri would hold around 45%-49% of the shares, one or several Italian Fincantieri partners would take around 10% and the remaining shares would be divided between the French state, which would retain its current 33%, and the publicly owned French military group DCNS would get 10% or a little more. Ownership would thus be split between a majority Italian block and a minority French block, but without any shareholder having more than 50%.In the immediate future, a first step is expected in the coming days: the signing in Seoul, Korea, of the final agreements for the takeover of STX France, the subsidiary of the current South Korean conglomerate owner of the Saint-Nazaire site.

According to the Le Monde report, Fincantieri is set to transfer its payment for the French shipbuilder (reportedly less that EUR 80 million) to the Seoul Central District Commercial Court, which was responsible for managing the bankruptcy of the STX Group.

Once that deal is signed, the French state would have two months to exercise its right to buy out the 67% of the shares involved

Though the French government has no wish to nationalize the shipyard, Le Monde says that Christophe Sirugue, the secretary of state for industry, has never ruled out using this right of preemption in a temporary way, to block a project that would not suit France.

A simple majority take over by Fincantieri is meeting French resistance for a number of reasons, including a fear that in a tight market any cruise ship orders would go to Italian shipyards first.

Read the Le Monde report HERE


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