France, Italy expected to announce deal on French shipyard

The French and Italian governments are confident a deal will be announced Wednesday allowing Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to take control of a key French shipyard, ending a weeks-long disagreement between the countries.

France had this summer blocked the takeover of the shipyard STX, on the Atlantic coast, citing concerns about jobs but annoying the Italian government. The sides then said they hoped to reach a deal to combine forces in shipbuilding to create a European champion.

French Finance minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters Wednesday he hopes to be "on the path of a shipbuilding world giant." Italian Defense minister Roberta Pinotti said in an interview released by her office that "there are all indications that Italy and France can work together."

The announcement is expected to be made later Wednesday when French President Macron meets Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.

Le Monde newspaper reports, without identifying sources, both governments agreed on a deal giving Fincantieri a 51 percent stake in STX, with France allowed to take control back if needed.

Fincantieri shares were up 1.8 percent in late morning trading on expectations of the deal.