French shipyard lands major shipping contract
A French shipyard landed a multi-million-dollar contract Thursday as a US cruise company announced it was ordering a massive luxury liner from STX France at Saint Nazaire, on the Atlantic coast.
Miami-based Royal Caribbean International announced it was ordering a sister ship to its two top-of-the-line cruise liners, the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, with an option on a second vessel.
While the company did not reveal how much the contract was worth, its other two Oasis-class liners, built in Turku, Finland, cost 900 million euros each ($1.2 billion) according to the trade press. They were delivered in 2009 and 2010.
The third vessel may come in at a lower cost given the competition for the contract worldwide.
Royal Caribbean said its capital spending would be $1.3 billion for 2012; $700 million in 2013; $1.2 billion in 2014 and in 2015; and $1.6 billion in 2016.
The two existing Oasis-class liners are the largest cruise ships in the world, boasting 16 decks and each able to carry 5,400 passengers.
News of the contract will be a boost for STX France, which had signed no contracts in nearly two years.
The yard employs 2,100 people, supporting another 4,000 sub-contractors.
STX France is two-thirds owned by STX Europe, which is a subsidary of South Korea's STX Shipbuilding. The other one third of STX France is owned by the French state.
Earlier this month, French Economy Minister Pierre Moscovici had promised to save the Atlantic shipyards by bringing in new contracts.
© 2012 AFP