France May Step in on Shipyard Sale
France may intervene in the sale of the Saint-Nazaire shipyard by bankrupt South Korean shipbuilder STX if the French government's conditions are not met, Industry Minister Christophe Sirugue said.
"The government is fully mobilised and will not hesitate to use all of the levers at its disposal," Sirugue told French daily Les Echos in an interview published on Friday.
The French state, which owns a third of STX France and its western Saint-Nazaire shipyard, has a right of refusal on the sale of STX Offshore & Shipbuilding's majority stake once a winning bid has been selected, which is expected next week.
Italy's Fincantieri is the sole bidder for the French assets, a source said on Dec. 27, and the Seoul bankruptcy court said only one offer had been received.
The court is expected to rule on the offer on Jan. 3.
Paris wants state-controlled military shipbuilder DCNS to take a minority stake in STX France, Sirugue reiterated, under a broader ownership structure that could include minority holdings for customers such as MSC Cruises or Royal Caribbean.
"Our immediate priority will be to hold discussions with the designated buyer, so that its offer can be reworked to take account of our conditions," the minister said.
Reporting by Laurence Frost