(Reuters) - Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri (FCT.MI) and China State Shipbuilding Corp have agreed a $1.5 billion deal with Carnival Corp (CCL.N) to build two cruise ships for the fast-growing Chinese cruise market.
Fincantieri shares jumped 4 percent to a 16-month high.
The agreement to build cruise ships, the first such vessels of that type to be built in China for the domestic market, comes five months after the companies signed a non-binding deal without disclosing financial details.
China is set to become the world’s second largest cruise market, after the United States, by 2030, according to data from the Chinese Ministry of Transport. The market is expected to expand to 4.5 million passengers by 2020 from 1 million in 2015.
“(China) will remain a key driver for cruise growth across Asia for many years to come,” Carnival Asia Chief Executive Michael Thamm said.
Carnival’s Chinese joint venture will operate the ships and the agreement also includes an option to build four more ships, two more than what they agreed in Sept.
The design of the ships, which will be delivered from 2023, will be tailored for the “specific tastes of the Chinese travelers”, the companies said on Wednesday.
The companies signed the deal in a ceremony attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Beijing.
Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdynia; editing by David Clarke/Keith Weir