PARIS (Reuters) - France will make new proposals to Italy with the hope of resolving their differences over the sale and joint control of STX shipyards before a Franco-Italian summit in September, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday.
Paris angered Rome last month after it ordered a “temporary” nationalization of STX, cancelling a deal in which Italy’s state-owned Fincantieri (FCT.MI) and another Italian investor had agreed to buy a 54.6 percent stake.
France took the decision after Fincantieri, which had bought the majority stake from its former Korean owners, refused joint-control with other French stakeholders.
“My wish is that we reach an agreement with our Italian friends on these shipyards by the end of September, and therefore I will resume discussions at the end of the week with my Italian counterpart,” Le Maire said on France’s LCI television.
Le Maire said France would make the new proposals in the coming days in the hope that during the Sept. 27 Franco-Italian summit, the heads of state would be able to reach agreement.
While he gave no details on what the new proposals would contain, Le Maire said they should be extended to Franco-Italian cooperation in the field of naval defense.
“If there is no agreement, the nationalization remains in place, but I repeat, I do not believe it is the future of the Saint-Nazaire shipyards, I do not think it is the best option,” Le Maire said.
STX, based at Saint-Nazaire, on France’s west coast, builds both military and cruise ships.
Reporting by Yann Le Guernigou; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Alison Williams