STX gets order for luxury cruise ship to be built in France

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South Korean-controlled shipbuilder STX Europe said Thursday it had received an order for a luxury cruise ship to be built at its Saint-Nazaire shipyard in France and operated by Germany's Hapag Lloyd-Cruises.

STX Europe did not divulge the contract's amount but said it represented about 2.5 million working hours at its French shipyard.

Construction of the vessel, called Europa 2, will start in 2011, the company said in a statement, adding it would enter into service in 2013.

It was ordered by a third party outside of German group TUI, one of Europe's leading tourism operators and the major shareholder of cruise operator Hapag Lloyd-Cruises, STX said.

Some 2,150 people work at the French shipyard, which hires just as many people through contractors.

A slowdown in activity since 2008 caused temporary lay-offs and 235 people opted for a voluntary departure plan.

Activity in Saint-Nazaire started picking up again last year with two new orders, one by MSC Cruise and the other by Libyan state-owned company GNMTC.

STX France is held at 66.6 percent by STX Europe, a division of South Korea's STX Shipbuilding, with the remaining 33.3 percent owned by the French state.

© 2011 AFP

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