Fincantieri said it and Germany
's biggest shipyard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG
(HDW) have agreed to cooperate in vessel production and marketing. Trieste-based Fincantieri said the two companies have agreed to seek close cooperation in the design, procurement and production of passenger and naval vessels and aim to sign an accord to market ferries and non-nuclear submarines below 700 tons.
"Both shipyards believe that strong, joint action is essential given that price pressures in the merchant shipbuilding sector and distorted practices by Far East competitors
mean that European shipbuilders must achieve the right levels of cost reduction and product differentiation.
"At the same time, in the naval shipbuilding sector, defense budget constraints in many countries and growing competition need to be addressed by containing costs and technological developments," Fincantieri said.
Fincantieri and HDW, which have been in talks for several months, "consider this agreement necessary in order to enhance their respective know-how and strengthen their leading positions," it said, adding this cooperation could be extended to other European shipbuilders in the future.
Fincantieri, which is slated for full privatization later this year, has returned to the black after two years of losses, posting 2000 net profit of $9.6 million.
One of the largest and most diversified shipbuilding groups in Europe, its orders last year more than doubled to 8.0 trillion lire, lifting the current orderbook to about 15.0 trillion lire with production value up 8.0 percent to 3.7 trillion lire.
Kiel-based HDW, known particularly for its non-nuclear submarines, has annual turnover of some 2.0 trillion marks ($908 billion) and orders on hand totaling around 11 billion marks. - (Reuters)