Luxury cruise giant MSC in new 4bn euro deal with STX France
Luxury cruise giant MSC has ordered four new ships from the French arm of South Korean shipbuilder STX for some 4.0 billion euros ($4.5 billion), a French government spokesman said Wednesday.
French President Francois Hollande and officials of the Italian-Swiss group as well as STX France feted the deal at the presidential palace.
The orders will occupy STX France, in which the French state has a 33 percent stake, until 2026 and employ some 3,500 people, Stephane Le Foll said, calling it "very, very good news" for the shipyards in Saint Nazaire, western France, which were on the brink of bankruptcy just four years ago.
Geneva-based MSC has previously ordered eight other ships from the builder.
The new cruise ships dubbed "world class" will be 355 metres (1,165 feet) long, 47 metres wide and accommodate more than 2,750 passengers.
STX's order book is now so full that it now plans to sub-contract some of the production to other yards in Europe, it said in early March.
MSC carried some 1.7 million passengers last year and is targeting 3.6 million by 2021.
Wednesday's announcement came less than a month after STX conducted its first ocean test of the world's biggest cruise ship.
The mammoth Oasis-class Harmony of the Seas, built for US cruise giant Royal Caribbean International, stretches 362 metres (1,187 feet) and is 60.5 metres wide.
© 2016 AFP