Michèle Valandina

Michèle Valandina

Michèle Valandina French correspodent

A graduate from Lyon University, where she specialized in foreign languages and American Literature, Michèle worked as an interpreter/translator (English, German and Italian) for major international events before entering the diplomatic world for a few years. As a Paris-based freelance travel and lifestyle writer, she has been a contributor to a host of publications and has long specialized in two sectors: cruising and wellness. Her features have appeared, among others, in Le Monde, Le Figaro, Le Figaro Magazine, Les Echos Week-end and periodicals dedicated to the MICE sector. She has also featured on radio and TV travel programmes and since 1992, has been the author of the only French cruise guide, Croisières Passion.

Closing two months of dispute and negotiations between France and Italy, a solution has been found for the new ownership structure of major cruise shipbuilder STX France.

Discussions between France and Italy regarding the sale and control of STX France resume today in Rome with Bruno Le Maire French minister for economy and finance meeting with Italy’s finance minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, to try and find a resolution to the transaction.

The French state is exercising its pre-emptive right to acquire the remaining share capital in STX France, buying time to continue negotiations with Italy. This is a temporary move that will cost France about €80m.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday said the state is prepared to exercise its pre-emptive right to nationalize STX France if Italy doesn't accept its offer of a 50-50 share of the Saint-Nazaire shipyard.

Queen Mary 2 returned to Saint-Nazaire for the first time since its 2003 delivery from the French shipyard, excorted by an armada of military ships flying the flags of France, the US, Ireland, Germany and Great Britain. The occasion was watched by thousands of onlookers.

MSC Group founder and owner Gianluigi Aponte indicated possible interest in taking a small stake in STX France as the Macron administration renegotiates the sale to limit Fincantieri's control.

In a bid to reduce the stake controlled by Italy, French President Emmanuel Macron is looking to revise the terms of the STX France sale approved in April by the former Hollande government.

Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to visit STX France in St Nazaire today for the handover ceremony of MSC Meraviglia, Elysée Palace announced.

MSC Meraviglia is out for its first sea trials with some 350 technicians and engineers from STX France, MSC Cruises and subcontractors on board.

The French industry state secretary Christophe Sirugue is visiting St Nazaire this afternoon one day after it was announced that Fincantieri has been selected as the preferred bidder in the sale of the 66.66% stake in STX France.

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