Fincantieri's bid for STX France approved by South Korean court

Tue Jan 3, 2017 8:30am EST
 
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By Joyce Lee and Emmanuel Jarry

SEOUL/PARIS (Reuters) - A South Korean court approved Italy's Fincantieri (FCT.MI: Quote) on Tuesday as the preferred bidder to buy shipbuilder STX France, helping Fincantieri move closer to a deal that could boost its position in the cruise ship-building market.

The Seoul court spokesman, who announced the decision, declined to give further details, as did a Fincantieri spokesman. Analysts at Banca IMI estimate Fincantieri would offer below 100 million euros ($104 million) for the asset.

The sale of STX France, which specializes in building cruise ships at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard and is profitable, forms part of the broader sale of businesses from the demise of the South Korean STX shipbuilding group.

The French state intends to keep a 33 percent stake in STX France, and French Industry Minister Christophe Sirugue will meet Saint-Nazaire shipyard unions on Wednesday, said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin.

Italy's 230-year old Fincantieri makes a wide range of vessels from cruise ships to military aircraft carriers, and the former state-owned company had 2015 sales of 4.2 billion euros.

Shares in Fincantieri were up 3.1 percent at 0.50 euros in mid-session trading.

"The deal would definitively strengthen Fincantieri's leadership position in the cruise segment and in the medium-long term we believe it could also enhance the group's fundamentals," Banca IMI analysts wrote in a research note last week. 

Kepler Cheuvreux also said acquiring STX France would raise Fincantieri's share of the cruise shipbuilding segment to some 60 percent from 40-45 percent.   Continued...

 
FILE PHOTO Shipbuilders ride past a giant poster November 9, 2016 at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, western France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo