The shipyard in Cospicua will have new owners as Palumbo is ready to sell half of its shares to the company MSC Cruises. The process for the transfer of shares has already begin and the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority is checking whether there are any objections to this agreement from other competitors in the market. Palumbo, which has almost 20 years left in its concession for the operation of the shipyard, said they will not comment at this stage.
Ten years since the Dockyard was passed on to the private sector as a concession from the Government for 30 years, Palumbo Malta Shipyard will be selling half its shares to MSC Cruises. This means the two companies will be partners in the operation of the shipyard.
The MCCAA has issued a notice so that whoever wishes to forward an objection about this partnership can do so within seven days. The Authority is carrying out an investigation to verify whether this agreement is in conformity with the Competition Act.
Contacted by TVM, a spokesperson for the Palumbo Group said that at the moment it is not prudent for them to comment on the agreement until everything has been finalised.
The Italian-owned company Palumbo signed the agreement to operate the new shipyard in June of 2010 when it was given the 30-year concession to take over the three dockyards for ship repair and the yacht marina at Manoel Island. Palumbo also operates shipyards in Naples and Messina.
On their part, MSC Cruises have a 300 year history in the marine sector. Founded in Naples and today registered in Geneva, Switzerland, the company is among the main operators of cruises around the world. It currently owns 17 passenger ships.
The two companies have already collaborated in ports around Europe in the past. Sources in the industry told TVM that this agreement should continue to strengthen the shipyard operation by providing more work. It is not yet known whether the Government also needs to give its approval for this new agreement according to the 2010 agreement between the Government and Palumbo.