FRANKFURT, Oct 14 (AFP) - The German government does not believe that the
concept put forward by the French government for the creation of a European
shipbuilding giant is workable, the business daily Handelsblatt reported on
Berlin objected to the idea of merging French naval shipbuilders DCN and
French defence electronics group Thales with the corresponding activities of
German firms ThyssenKrupp and HDW to form a European giant similar to EADS in
the aerospace sector, because DCN is still state-owned, the newspaper reported
quoting German economy ministry sources.
Any tie-up would have to be between private-sector companies in order to
ensure that it was a merger of equals, the sources were quoted as saying.
The shipyards would therefore have to be privatised first and made
profitable before a merger could go ahead.
Similarly, Berlin rejected the proposal by French economy minister Nicolas
Sarkozy that the loss-making civilian shipbuilding activities of French group
Alstom should be incorporated into any EADS-like tie-up.
Alstom has been looking for a buyer for its loss-making shipyards for years.
It was such differences between Sarkozy and his German counterpart Wolfgang
Clement over European industrial policy that were behind the last-minute
cancellation of a planned meeting of the two ministers on Thursday,
Clement called off the meeting at the last minute late Wednesday citing the
difficult situation at General Motors's German unit Opel.
Clement was unable to meet Sarkozy because he has was occupied with "urgent
meetings because of the situation of General Motors/Opel at Ruesselsheim and
Bochum," the ministry said in a statement.