Italian shipbuilder announces plan to join ASX if it wins $35b Australian Navy frigate contract

Italian shipbuilder announces plan to join ASX if it wins $35b Australian Navy frigate contract

Italian shipbuilder announces plan to join ASX if it wins $35b Australian Navy frigate contract

Updated 28 September 2017, 0:25 AEST

An Italian Government-controlled shipbuilder says it will join the Australian Stock Exchange if it secures a $35 billion contract to design and construct new Australian warships.

An Italian Government-controlled shipbuilder says it will join the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) if it secures a $35 billion contract to design and construct new Australian warships.

Fincantieri, one of three foreign shipbuilders competing for the lucrative Future Frigate program, has announced it will list its Australian business unit on the ASX "upon reaching the appropriate business content".

The Italians are promoting their FREMM Frigate design in a fierce competition against Spanish shipbuilder Navantia and the UK's BAE Systems.

Fincantieri Australia Chairman Dario Deste said listing on the ASX "allows Australian investor participation in Fincantieri Australia and ensures that decisions will be taken locally and in the best interests of Australia".

The company said it, and selected sub-contractors, would also construct cruise ship blocks in Australia from 2018 to commence training the local shipbuilding workforce in Fincantieri tools and methods.

Fincantieri Australia has also confirmed it will officially open its office in Adelaide on October 10, 2017.

"This facility expands Fincantieri's operations into Adelaide as we mobilise Australian industry, activate the Adelaide shipyard with the proven digital tools used to build the Italian FREMM Frigates on time and on budget in Italy and recruit and train the Australian shipbuilding workforce for the project," Mr Deste said.

Competition for the lucrative Future Frigate contract is heating up, with West Australian company Austal and its South Australian partner ASC still furiously lobbying to ensure they can construct the Navy's new warships, which will be based on a yet-to-be-selected international design.

Earlier this month, Defence claimed the inclusion of the Australian companies in the project could lead to costly delays of at least two years.