France and Italy announced that they will not proceed to with the merger of two of Europe’s largest shipbuilders, Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Fincantieri, a decision that was made due to the current economic situation and the COVID-19 impact.
Specifically, in a joint statement by France’s Minister of the Economy and Finances and Italy’s Minister of Economic Development, it was reported that following a telephone conversation with Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, France, and Italy had determined “that the current economic context does not allow the continuation of the planned merger.”
Moreover, it was stated that the agreement for the transfer of Chantiers de l’Atlantique, signed by the French State, and Fincantieri on February 2, 2018, will end on January 31, 2021, after being extended five times.
The statement also explained that “in order to allow the two companies to focus on their exit strategy from the crisis and on new projects, France and Italy have drawn conclusions from the lack of decision of the European Commission and the economic and health context.”
To remind, the merger was initially proposed in February 2018; Yet, the merger was delayed pending an anti-trust review and approval from the European Commission. The agreement to merge the operation of the two shipyards had come about after France took control of the then STX France operation after the collapse of the South Korean company.