The conditions under which the US firm Royal Caribbean International awarded STX France, based in Saint-Nazaire, a contract to build a cruise liner are creating a stir.

Finland - whose Turku-based subsidiary STX Finland was also competing for the contract - announced, on 31 December 2012, that it intended to consult the European Commission to ascertain whether competition rules were observed. The Finnish authorities allege that the French state, which owns 33% of the French subsidiary of the South Korean giant STX Shipbuilding, helped land the contract through public aid.

The billion-euro contract was won by STX France "thanks to the support of the French economy minister" but "there was no direct state aid," maintains Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France.

"We made every effort to save the Atlantic shipyards in full compliance with...

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