South Korean court selected Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for preferred bidder for STX France. The finance-troubled South Korean shipbuilder STX Offshore and Shipbuilding holds 66.6% from the STX France in Saint-Nazaire, which were listed for sale, as part of the liquidation and restructuring process. The remaining 33.4% are hold by the France government. The finance details of the transaction were not disclosed, but under the agreement Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri will acquire 66.6% stake in the cruise shipyard. The ownership of STX France in Saint-Nazaire is sensitive question, as the shipyard is the only one seen to be large enough to build an aircraft carrier, and there is deep concern over foreign control.
“The court reached the decision this afternoon”, said Judge Choi Ung-Young, who acts as a spokesman for the Seoul Central District Insolvency Court. “Fincantieri would now conduct field research on the shipyard and agree a price with the South Korean firm before signing a deal for its 66.6% stake”, added he.
Another bidders for the STX France shipyard were Damen Shipyards and France’s DCNS, but none of them was selected for bidding into the sale.
The transaction is under approval from the France government and anti-trust authorities.
France would like to see a widening of ownership of the French subsidiary to include the state-owned naval shipbuilder DCNS. That would limit Fincantieri’s influence as France holds a direct stake of 33% in STX France.
Fincantieri is an Italian shipbuilding company based in Trieste, Italy. It was formed in 1959 and is owned by the Italian state through Fintecna. It is already the largest shipbuilder in Europe. After the acquisition of VARD in 2013 the Fincantieri group doubled in size to become the fourth largest in the world. The company builds both commercial and military vessels.