France Vows to Keep Stake in Struggling STX Shipyard

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October 10, 2016

A view shows a section of the Oasis Class 4 at the STX Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, France, September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

ReutersPARIS, Oct 10 (Reuters) – The French government said on Monday it was not planning to take a majority stake in the French subsidiary of struggling South Korean shipyard group STX Corp but that it would retain its minority blocking stake and expected a say in any ownership change.

The government’s position on STX France was spelled out in a statement by the finance ministry after the Liberation newspaper said the government might take a majority stake.

The French state holds a 33 percent minority stake in STX France, which runs naval shipyards in Saint-Nazaire on the west coast. Loss-making STX Corp is in administration.

One issue of importance from France’s point of view is the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, which is a big local employer with a healthy order-book for building of cruise liners.

“The government’s objective is not to become majority holder in STX France but rather to influence the decision on who takes over the Saint-Nazaire yard so that it can count on a solid industrial shareholder structure to accompany is long-term development,” the finance ministry statement said.

Dutch group Damen shipyards and Italian group Fincantieri are among potential buyers that have emerged for STX France. Local officials however recently said they opposed Fincantieri’s candidacy as they feared it might transfer to Italy part of STX’s workload. (Reporting By Brian Love, Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Ingrid Melander)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.

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