Genoa - Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, has said that Italy has managed to acquire “a piece of France”. He said it with pride at the launch of the frigate Antonio Marceglia at the Riva Trigoso facility. But also with a bit of a polemical tone: “If it had gone the other way, none of us here would have stood up to defend our nation’s industry, as they did.” This was the first time that Bono had spoken publicly since the signing of the agreement with the French State, which brought 50% of STX France into the Italian shipbuilding giant’s hands: a €59.7-million deal, structured on shared strategies in the civilian sector (with cruise ships to be built at Saint-Nazaire), and in the military sector, thanks to Naval Group’s participation with a 10% stake.
Is the agreement with Paris just the beginning of a European shipbuilding group? You have been promoting this plan for ten years. Could it be extended to Germany as well as France?
“From now on, Fincantieri will have to think more and more as a European Group. It is precisely for this reason that I hope that our stake in STX France is only the beginning of the growth that this company needs and is capable of in the coming years. As far as the German market is concerned, we have already been working with Germany for some years on the development and construction of our submarine models. There could be room for more expansion, we won’t stop with STX.”
Secolo XIX/The MediTelegraph has already reported on the new ships to be built for MSC Cruises. When will negotiations for the construction of the four extra-luxury units for MSC be completed?
“We are in talks with Gianluigi Aponte. The real problem will be where to build these units: our factories’ backlogs are already full of orders, and there is no space available in the short term. We will try to find a solution once the contract is signed.”
The most important moves that Fincantieri is making outside of Europe are in Australia and the United States. Tens of billions of euros in military sector ship procurements are at stake. What are the latest developments?
“Still nothing concrete, we need more time. Very large-value orders are at play: this frightens us a bit, because it is not easy to replicate Fincantieri on the other side of the world, but it is also a challenge that brings Italy prestige and makes us proud”.
Why did you say that the State and the institutions must pay more attention to Fincantieri, rather than provide financial support?
“Providing funding creates bad habits. This is one of the publicly owned companies that receives the least in subsidies. They give us the ships to build and we want to earn money this way: work stimulates us, and drives us to do better and better”.
During the launch ceremony at the Riva Trigoso shipyard, you thanked the Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti more than once. Is the Naval Law involved?
“Without this law, which earmarked €5.3 billion for the new Italian Navy ships, Fincantieri could never have been listed on the Stock Exchange. When the Letta government leadership asked me if the company could be listed, I replied that it could be done, but we would need the Naval Law. Minister Pinotti has always been close to us and has always made herself very available to us. I hope that she will be able to do so in the future.”
What are your development plans for the group’s shipyards in Liguria, Genoa Sestri, Riva Trigoso and La Spezia?
“Well, all the plants have work guaranteed for at least the next five years. But if someone asks me what will happen to these shipyards in twenty or thirty years, of course I cannot say.”
But what is your next objective?
“To stay at home, or maybe to go and live abroad. But only after I have finished my work at Fincantieri.”