The French and Italian Governments have launched a joint process to study the possibility of merging shipyards Naval Group, formerly DCNS, and Fincantieri.

The plan was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni following a Franco-Italian summit in Lyon.

A steering committee related to the initiative will be launched within the next few days, which is set to study and define a roadmap detailing the principles of the future alliance by June next year.

A statement issued by the two shipbuilding groups noted their intention is to create a progressive alliance to enhance the naval defence sector in the future.

Welcoming the decision, Naval Group CEO Hervé Guillou and Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono jointly stated: “Our two groups have already successfully cooperated on the Horizon and FREMM frigates programmes and we look forward to achieving together our European ambition, while serving our international development on a growing competitive naval defence market and continuing to support the Italian and French navies.”

In addition, the two governments have reached an agreement on the shareholding structure of STX France.

Fincantieri will take effective control of STX France with a 51% stake a under shared ownership arrangement.

Fincantieri previously signed a share purchase agreement in May, which saw the company acquire 66.66% of the share capital in STX France for a sum of €79.5m.

Italian shipyard Fincantieri has built more than 7,000 vessels over its 230 years in operation and owns 20 shipyards across four continents.

The group’s clients include major cruise operators, as well as the Italian, US and several other foreign navies.

France’s Naval Group is primarily engaged in the design and production of submarines and surface ships.