France Buys into STX Europe
The French Republic became a 33.34 percent shareholder in STX France and its shipyards in Saint-Nazaire and Lorient. STX Europe is a builder of cruise ships and ferries, with a market share of 35 - 40 percent. The company builds cruise ships at its yards in France and Finland. The French yards also have experience with navy vessels. Other shipyards in STX Europe are build specialized offshore vessels. The new agreement between STX Europe and the French Republic is a realization of the memorandum of understanding announced by the two parties on June 12, 2008. The French Republic will acquire the 33.34 percent interest in STX France via an equity investment of $139.7m which is expected to be made on November 7, 2008. Based on the new ownership model, STX France aims to expand the business within today's primary market for both cruise ships and ferries. The yards will also explore opportunities in other segments where STX Europe already has solid experience and skills, for example for ships to the navy or for very large and advanced offshore vessels.
Facts regarding the transaction:
Today, STX Europe ASA ("STX Europe") controls 75 of the shares in the two French yards through STX France Cruise SA ("STX France"). In the transaction, STX Europe and the French Republic have agreed that the French Republic becomes a shareholder in STX France Cruise SA ("STX France").
STX Europe will continue to be the controlling shareholder of STX France with just above 50 percent, while the French Republic will own approximately 33.34 percent. Alstom Holdings SA ("Alstom"), today a 25 percent shareholder of STX France, will own the remaining shares, approximately 16 percent.
According to the agreement, the French Republic shall be represented to the Board of Directors of STX France by at least two members. STX and the French Republic have furthermore agreed a Shareholders Agreement for STX France which gives the French Republic significant minority protection, as well providing procedures and restrictions on the sale by a party of its shares in STX France.
STX' business within the building of cruise ships and ferries is primarily based on the shipyards in France and Finland. This strategy will continue with the new agreement.
The agreement is depending on approval of STX Europe's Board of Directors, final approval by the French government, and approval by certain business partners of STX France.