Fincantieri has been designated as the preferred bidder for South Korean STX Shipbuilding’s French unit by a South Korean court.
Fincantieri would now conduct field research on the shipyard and agree a price with the South Korean firm before signing a deal for its 66.6 percent stake, Judge Choi Ung-Young, who acts as a spokesman for the Seoul Central District Insolvency Court was quoted as saying by AFP Tuesday.
Fincantieri, Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group and French state-controlled naval shipbuilder DCNS had initially expressed interest in acquiring STX France, which specialises in building cruise ships.
But the Italian shipbuilding giant was the sole bidder to submit a binding proposal last month.
STX in 2008 bought a two-thirds stake in the huge shipyard in the western French port of Saint-Nazaire, later renamed STX France.
It is currently the company's only profitable unit. The French state holds the remaining stake and is extremely concerned about the future of the shipyard, a major local employer with a healthy order book for cruise liners.
STX Offshore's creditors last month narrowly approved a debt restructuring plan, avoiding the imminent liquidation of what was once South Korea's fourth largest shipbuilder.