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French, Italian Governments Greenlight Naval Shipbuilding JV

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The Fincantieri/DCNS FREMM frigate, an example of a French/Italian venture with success in the export market (file image courtesy Fincantieri)

By The Maritime Executive 02-28-2020 04:07:36

The governments of France and Italy have signed an agreement affirming their mutual support for the new naval shipbuilding joint venture between Naval Group and Fincantieri, which launched last month under the name Naviris. The agreement makes the long term alliance fully operational. 

"We are delighted to be able to count on the support of both the Italian and French governments together with the navies of our two countries to carry out our mission effectively," said Hervé Guillou and Giuseppe Bono, the CEOs of Naval Group and Fincantieri respectively, in a joint statement issued Friday. 

The joint-venture, owned equally by the two groups, will manage the midlife modernization of the Franco-Italian Horizon frigates. It will also allow them to cooperate with common R&D, export marketing opportunities and the development of a new European Patrol Corvette, which has already attracted interest from Greece and Spain.

The companies view their cooperation as the key for the consolidation of the EU naval sector, part of a broader trend towards the acceptance of cross-border naval procurement arrangements. In January, the German government awarded a four-vessel frigate contract to a non-German shipbuilder, the Netherlands-based specialty ship firm Damen - an unprecedented and controversial decision driven by quality considerations rather than nationality. 

Naval Group and Fincantieri said in a statement that they are open to extend their partnership to other European firms. Ultimately, their ambition is to make the broader European naval industry "the worldwide leader in product performance and technology innovation."