Fincantieri to take (restricted) control on STX France
The Italian group will take over 50% shares plus 1% loaned from Paris, that will have the right to demand stakes back if the Italian company fails to comply with the approved business plan
“An excellent deal, better than the previous one negotiated with Hollande”, ensued from a ‘win-win’ strategy” said Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who appeared particularly satisfied after Lyon summit with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Fincantieri will take control of Saint Nazaire yard – from South-Korean STX group, under judicial administration, and after temporary nationalization set up by Macron – while Paris will have the right to supervise Fincantieri's commitment regarding jobs, local suppliers and military cooperation.
The Italian group will control 50% shares in STX France, plus 1% stakes that the French State will loan on a 12 years long-term basis.
Paris will keep the possibility of terminating this loan during three-month inspection after 2, 5, 8 and 12 years following the transaction, to assess whether the group is complying with the agreed business plan (in terms of governance, know-how, development, jobs, local suppliers) and Fincantieri will have the power to sell France its 50% stakes.
If all commitments will be honoured, after 12 years Fincantieri will finally take over 1% stakes.
Regarding corporate governance, Fincantieri will be empowered to appoint 4 members of the board, out of 8, the President and Managing Director, but – according to press reports – France will still hold a veto right on all nominations, and should this right be confirmed, Fincantieri's power would be weakened and the new management will have to be appointed by both partners.
This scenario would suddenly bring up the problem of Laurent Castaing, incumbent CEO at Saint Nazaire, actually supported by France while Fincantieri would suggest a different helm.
As reported in a recent framework agreement, published on the Ministry of Economic Development's website, the French State will hold 34.34%, Naval Group 10%, local suppliers 3.66% and the yard's staff 2%.
Naval Group will be also involved in the second phase of the agreement, regarding the cooperation between Italy and France in terms of military defence, Fincantieri stated that “the two groups will play a leading role in the board that will start working during next days to set out, by June 2018, a roadmap providing full details of forthcoming alliance”.
Hervé Guillou, CEO at Naval Group, and Giuseppe Bono, CEO at Fincantieri, stated that: “our two groups successfully cooperated over the FREMM and Horizon projects and we proudly take the opportunity to achieve our European goal together in an increasingly competitive naval market while also supporting Italy and France Navy.”