The STX France yard is situated in Saint-Nazaire, France (Image: STX France)
Italian state-owned shipbuilding group Fincantieri has agreed to acquire 50% of the share capital of STX France shipyard from the French government for €59.7 million (US$77.4 million) following months of discussions.
Founded more than 150 years ago, STX France is based in Saint-Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast. STX France has around 2,600 employees and a network of more than 500 subcontractors. The yard is being sold following the collapse of South Korean parent STX Offshore and Shipbuilding.
The signing follows the agreement announced in September by the Italian and French governments regarding the future shareholding structure of STX France. This outlines the need for Naval Group, a French industrial group specialised in naval defence and marine renewable energy, to become a shareholder to help create a future alliance in cruise and military (naval) sectors.
According to the agreement, Fincantieri will acquire 50% of the capital, while the French government (represented by Agence des Participations de l'Etat – APE) APE will retain 34.34% (of which 1% to be lent to Fincantieri). This satisfies Fincantieri’s demand for 51% control of STX France, but gives the French government the right to take back 1% if industrial and employment commitments are not met.
Naval Group will acquire 10% of the share capital, while STX France employees will have 2.4% and local companies will have up to at least 3.26%. However, if the employee ownership plan and/or the participation of a group of local companies cannot be implemented at the same time, Naval Group will be given 15.66% of the capital.
The board of directors will comprise four members appointed by Fincantieri – including the chairman and CEO – two people chosen by APE on behalf of the French government, one person named by Naval Group and one by the employees. The chairman will have a casting vote in all decisions the group makes.
STX France has built some of the world’s biggest cruise ships and currently has orders from Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises and Celebrity Cruises on its book until 2026. When the acquisition is finalised, Fincantieri and STX France aim to become the global leader in both the cruise ship building market, as well as other marine sectors.