Whether Europe sees the creation of a “naval Airbus” will be known by June 2018.
That is the date by which French and Italian shipbuilding giants Naval Group and Fincantieri are to define “a roadmap detailing the principles of the future alliance”.
The announcement of the possible merger was made in Lyon, France, by French president Emmanuel Macron and Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni on September 27.
The two companies have welcomed the announcement in a joint statement.
“Our two groups have already successfully cooperated on the Horizon and FREMM frigates programs and we look forward to achieving together our European ambition while serving our international development on a growing competitive naval defence market and continuing to support the Italian and French navies,” Naval Group CEO Hervé Guillou and Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono declared.
In addition to the possible merger, it was also announced that Fincatieri would be taking a 50% stake in the French STX shipyard in Saint Nazaire.
Details of the deal say that Fincantieri will have a controlling stake after the French state lends the Italian company an additional 1%. The French state, however, reserved the right to take that 1% back should Fincantieri not comply with the deal. In the case France takes back the 1%, Fincantieri will be able to sell its 50% stake, according to reports citing government sources.