France Nationalizes STX Shipyard?

By ,   July 28, 2017 ,   Cruise Industry

The French government temporarily nationalised STX France shipyard located in Saint-Nazaire after it failed to reach a 50:50 capital acquisition agreement with Fincantieri, Italian state-owned shipbuilder.

Established over 150 years ago, STX France is based on the Atlantic coast of France and is being sold after the collapse of parent STX Offshore and Shipbuilding, South Korea.

Saint-Nazaire port

Earlier in 2017, former French president Francois Hollande’s government had reached a deal to keep 33.3 percent of its STX France stake and veto rights, but sell 66.6 percent of the shares to Fincantieri for EUR 79.5 million. Fincantieri later agreed to reduce its own stake to 48 percent via selling some shares to Fondanzione CR Trieste, an Italian investment consortium, and DCNS, French state-controlled naval shipbuilder, was to take a 12 percent stake.

In April this year, new French President Emmanuel Macron announced that his administration would renegotiate the deal because of concerns French politicians and unions raised over the future of French shipbuilding industry and the security of yard’s 2,600 employees and over 500 subcontractors. The government cited concerns about the yard being controlled by Italy as it is the only one in France that is large enough to create aircraft carriers and warships.

President’s administration proposed a new 50:50 share capital agreement, which would also let Fincantieri appoint the president and general manager, giving the operational control. This was rejected at midnight July 27, and the French state exercised its pre-emption right to buy out shareholders for an estimated EUR 80 million before the end of July.

Bruno Le Maire, Economy Minister of France, said the move to nationalise the shipyard was only temporary and would not remain under state control in the long term. The move is expected to give the French government more time in order to negotiate with the Italian government.

On August 1, Le Maire will meet Italy's Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and the Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda to reach an agreement in the coming weeks.