Naval Group / Fincantieri: a minimal alliance launched on the sly
Without drum or trumpet, France and Italy have agreed to a minimum alliance between shipyards Naval Group and Fincantieri, which will create a joint venture at parity. We are very far from the apotheosis that had been imagined a few months ago to celebrate a strategic partnership intended to give wings to both groups in the field of surface buildings. Because this alliance will be carried out without taking of cross participations, contrary to what was envisaged at first. Despite their deep differences, the two countries still wanted to save appearances by providing a minimum service.
Thus, two press releases were published after 21:30, one by the two industrialists, the other by the French and Italian ministers: Elisabetta Trenta, Minister of Defense, Luigi Di Maio, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, and Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance. There is better to celebrate an alliance. To believe that no one wanted an operation yet ardently wanted at its genesis and carried at arm’s length by the Naval Group CEO, Hervé Guillou, and his Italian counterpart, Giuseppe Bono.
“The two governments support the key initiatives that Fincantieri and Naval Group intend to implement rapidly, and, in particular, the establishment in 2019 of a 50/50 joint venture, including the The goal is to implement commercial and industrial synergies, “said a joint statement from the four ministers.
A 50-50 joint venture
Fincantieri and Naval Group are therefore ready to launch this alliance in surface buildings (approximately 1 billion to 1.2 billion turnover each). It must be concretized by the creation of a 50:50 joint venture. Through this enterprise, the two groups plan to jointly prepare offers for binational programs and export markets, to deploy a more efficient supply chain (cross-purchasing, better value for money, volume effects, etc.), to lead jointly research and innovation projects, and encourage “cross fertilization between the two companies, with the sharing of centers and test facilities as well as networks of experts”. But no cross-shareholdings.
“It always makes sense” about the taking of cross-shareholdings, argued last week Hervé Guillou but “the joint venture can be done without participation” even if “it will be much more effective if there are interests “. According to him, this “requires a thorough discussion at the political level that has not yet taken place”.
In the bride’s basket, the guests were rather chick. Only France brought an order for four tanker tankers (430 million per vessel) delivered in 2023, 2025, 2027 and finally 2029 to the French Navy. The FlotLog program (Logistic Fleet) will be done in cooperation with Italy. The ships will be developed on an Italian design design (Vulcano), but under contract of the French group. Beginning in 2019 and with the support of the two ministries of defense, Fincantieri and Naval Group are also examining the possibility of submitting a joint bid for the first studies of the mid-life redesign of French and Italian Horizon frigates. common combat management system (CMS).
Then in the medium term, they aim at the development and the design of a light frigate of 3,000 tons. Thus, the two groups aim to replace the five Lafayette-type frigates (3,200 tonnes) and the six Floreal-type frigates (2,950 tonnes) in France and, in Italy, that of the OPVs of the Comandante class. The Italian navy intends to replace this type of frigate in 2025 while the need of the Navy is expected by 2030.
Towards a government-to-government agreement
The two governments initiated discussions on the development of a government-to-government agreement. This document will “fluidify the collaboration between the Italian and French manufacturers, and give a clear and simple framework to the operations of the alliance, both nationally and export,” said the statement. However, France and Italy remain very cautious about the future of this industrial alliance between Naval Group and Fincantieri. It “should have no impact on the ability of each government to master the capabilities and strategic resources of each of these companies,” wrote the four ministers.