France reopens talks with Italy in a bid to iron out differences over who will take ownership of the STX France shipyards that Paris says are of strategic importance: Italy's state-owned Fincantieri, the French state or an alliance of the two. Silvia Antonioli reports.
A long courtship but no marriage yet. In the latest turn of the STX sale saga France tries to rekindle its ties with Italy's Fincantieri Its finance minister Bruno Le Maire said he wants a private investor for the shipyard and shipbuilder Fincantieri would be the best option. This, only days after French President Emmanuel Macron angered Rome by ordering STX's "temporary" nationalization cancelling a previous deal under which Fincantieri and another Italian investor would take a majority stake This was the first major state intervention under newly-elected Macron, who had been widely seen as a pro-business candidate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRAIG ERLAM, SENIOR MARKETS ANALYSTS, OANDA, SAYING: "France has its roots in this area and therefore I don't think we're going we can expect it to change just because a man like Macron has won this election. I think he's going to remain sensitive to what the French people or will always have always previously wanted....From France in particular that one of the biggest concerns here is jobs. It quite often is. And I think what he's just looking to do is to buy some time with a suitable solution." STX is up for grabs since the collapse of its South Korean parent. Paris had offered a 50-50 joint venture between France and the Italian company to which Fincantieri replied: "No thanks", with Italy insisting Fincantieri must have control. The tone of both parties has become more conciliatory in the last few days. with Le Maire saying the nationalisation was not a move against the Italians but rather a way to gain time to agree a better deal. But adding a note of caution, saying they will be forced to consider other alternatives should negotiations with the Italian company fail.