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