Deadline for the merger between French STX shipyard with Italian Fincantieri has been extended to December 31 as the previous deadline expired on October 31.
Under a 2018 merger deal, Fincantieri had to take control of Chantiers de l'Atlantique (Stx), the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire, on the French Atlantic coast, which manufactures cruise ships.
The decision to extend the deadline was made by the French government, Fincantieri and the Naval Group, which owns 11.7% of Chantiers owing to an European Commission investigation to assess whether if the merger would lead to an unacceptable dominant position in its industry, a report in Italian publication affaritaliani.it said.
The EU executive has not yet concluded its investigation, without which the Italian-French agreement cannot be implemented, the report said. Adding to the uncertainty, the Economic Affairs Committee of the French Senate published a critical report on the proposed merger.
At the 2017 Lyon summit between Italy and France, it was also decided to launch a joint-venture in the military sector between Naval Group and Fincantieri, which had already been incorporated called Naviris.
The Lyon agreement provides that Fincantieri will acquire only 50% of the company while an additional 1%, necessary to have control over it, will be loaned by the French state which will be able to take it back, if the Italians do not respect the commitments made including keeping jobs of the workforce.
The European Commission had earlier clarified that the turnover threshold for the proposed acquisition did not reach a ‘European dimension’ such as to justify its examination.
However, subsequently, France — which had signed the agreement only a few months earlier — decided to call into Question EU antitrust rules and submitted to the Commission a referral request pursuant to Article 22(1) of the EU Merger Regulation. Germany jointly signed France’s referral request.
The EU antitrust authority has opened an investigation into Fincantieri’s acquisition, thereby accepting the request by France and Germany.