An agreement has been reached for the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to acquire 48% of the French shipyard in St. Nazaire that is one of a handful of yards that builds large cruise ships.
The French yard is majority-owned by Korean conglomerate STX with the French government a minority 33% partner. The French government would continue to hold its one-third stake, plus veto power over decision-making, the French daily Ouest France reported.
A navy shipbuilder in France, DCNS, would get a 12% stake and a nonprofit called Fondation CRTrieste would be a 7% partner, the paper said.
The agreement, according to Ouest France, includes “commitments, particularly regarding the sustainability of the site and its activities, as well as investment and the maintenance and development of employment.”
Fincantieri emerged as the only bidder for the STX stake in the French yard, which has been for sale for several years due to financial pressures at STX.
STX France built the Harmony of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International and has contracts for a fourth Oasis-class ship, plus two Edge-class ships for Celebrity Cruises, due in 2018 and 2020.
With the deal, Fincantieri and Germany’s Meyer Werft will be the two major suppliers of big ships to the cruise industry, following Meyer’s acquisition of yards in Finland and Fincantieri’s investment in the STX France facility.