The signing follows the agreement announced in September by the Italian and French governments regarding the future shareholding structure of STX France. This envisages the participation of France's Naval Group as a shareholder and represents a first step toward the creation of a future alliance in cruise and military (naval) sectors.
The agreement also provides for the French state, via Agence des Participations de l'Etat (APE), to lend 1% of the share capital of STX France to Fincantieri. As previously reported, this satisfies Fincantieri's demand for 51% control of STX France but gives France the right to take back 1% if industrial and employment commitments aren't met.
When the transaction closes, STX France's shareholding structure will look like this: Fincantieri 50%, plus the 1% borrowed from APE; the French state (APE) 34.34%, of which 1% will be lent to Fincantieri; Naval Group 10%, or 15.66% if an employee ownership plan and/or the participation of a group of local companies cannot be implemented at the same time; STX France employees up to 2.4% and local companies up to 3.26%.
The STX France board will consist of four members appointed by Fincantieri, including the chairman and the CEO, two members appointed by the French state and one each by Naval Group and the employees. The chairman will have a casting vote.
The partnership further strengthens Fincantieri on the global market. Already it's the world leader in cruise ship construction.
STX France, based in Saint-Nazaire, has approximately 2,600 employees and a network of more than 500 subcontractors. In 2016, it generated revenues of approximately €1.4bn.
The facility is an important cruise shipbuilder, with a book of high-profile ships. Symphony of the Seas, the new world's largest cruise ship, and Celebrity Edge, a new design for Celebrity Cruises, are due for delivery this year. MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa are coming in 2019, Celebrity Beyond and a Meraviglia Plus vessel are scheduled in 2020 and an Oasis-class ship, the fifth, and a third Edge-class vessel arrive in 2021. In 2022, the first World-class ship for MSC Cruises is planned, along with a fourth Edge-class ship. A second World-class newbuild is set for 2024.
Fincantieri will pay for its stake in the French yard from available resources. The closing is subject to customary conditions.