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Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri has received a letter from Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers, appointed by STX Europe, that it has been selected as the preferred bidder in the 66.66% stake sale in STX France.

The approval given by the South Korean court as the preferred bidder will help the company to improve its position in the cruise ship-building market.

STX France is engaged in the building of cruise ships at the Saint Nazaire Dockyard, and the transaction forms part of the sale of businesses from the troubled South Korean company, STX Offshore & Shipbuilding.

"We have strategic interests that we want to keep."

STX France was acquired by STX in 2009.

European financial services company Kepler Cheuvreux was quoted by Reuters as saying that the acquisition of STX France is set to increase Fincantieri's stake of the cruise shipbuilding segment to 60% from the existing 40% to 45%.

In October last year, the French Government said it has no plans to acquire a major stake in STX France.

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By GlobalData

However, the government noted it would retain its minority blocking stake and expected an announcement in any ownership change.

Earlier, France stated that it wants state-controlled military shipbuilder DCNS to take a minority stake in STX France.

Commenting on the sales process, a DCNS spokesman told the news agency: “We have strategic interests that we want to keep."