PARIS — France and Italy received in June plans for industrial cooperation from shipbuilders Fincantieri and Naval Group, the spokeswoman for the French Armed Forces Ministry said.
“The governments concerned received the proposals from the companies and these proposals are being studied,” Valérie Lecasble said July 12, replying to a question from Defense News.
That delivery last month met a timetable for the Italian and French shipbuilders to pitch their plans for an industrial alliance in building warships and cooperating in export sales. Submarines are excluded from that proposed cooperation.
Naval Group is pursuing that link up with “great determination,” a company spokesman said.
Meanwhile, a 36-page report from ADIT, a partially state-owned company working in economic intelligence, has painted a “highly negative” picture of the compliance and ethics of Fincantieri, business paper La Tribune reported July 12. That ADIT report is circulating in the French Economy and Finance Ministry and the offices of the Armed Forces Minister, the report said.
There is also a report from the DGSE foreign intelligence service that cites “doubtful practices” Fincantieri’s commercial matters. That DGSE report has been handed to the French prime minister’s office, as well as the two French ministries.
The business model for the proposed Franco-Italian deal is seen by Naval Group as similar to the partnership between French carmaker Renault and its Japanese ally Nissan, in which there is close cooperation but the two are separate companies.
That proposed cross-border collaboration would seek synergies by pooling research, development and the procurement of equipment, and by cooperating on export offers in a bid to cut competition between the two companies.There would also be a cross shareholding of some 10 percent between the two companies.
It remains to be seen how the two partners have brought into the plan the French and Italian systems companies Thales and Leonardo, respectively, which supply electronics for warships. Thales holds a 35 percent stake in Naval Group, with the majority of the remainder owned by the French state.