The French government goes on supporting Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's takeover of STX France, country's finance minister Bruno Le Maire announced on Wednesday, August 1, but cautioned against hastening related defense naval merger.
Following a meeting with the government of Italy held in Rome, he told journalists that his country had not changed its position on the takeover, quelling concerns the deal could be hampered by tenser relations between Italy's new anti-establishment government and Paris.
However, the minister warned against speeding up a merger between Fincantieri and military shipyards operator Naval Group, France which has been seen as possible follow-up to STX' takeover. Le Maire told reporters, it would not be wise to discuss defense merger, stressing that had not been part of the deal reached last year.
Under the terms of the agreement between Italy and France, Fincantieri bought a 50% share in STX, but took effective control of the shipyards due to a 12-year loan of a 1% stake by the French state, subject to review clauses. Fincantieri purchased a 50% share in STX France earlier in 2018 and renamed its yard Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
Relations between France and Italy soured in recent weeks over spats on migrants as well as after the government of Italy raised doubts on TAV French-Italian rail link project that would connect Turin and Lyon.