Germany, France moot ship-building alliance: report

BERLIN, Aug 1, 2011 (AFP) - Germany and France are considering a military ship-building alliance, an "EADS of the Seas", similar to what is already done for military aircraft, the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper said Monday.

The European defence group EADS, owner of plane maker Airbus, also manufactures military helicopters and the A400 military transport plane.

Berlin and Paris are considering opening talks later this year on a similar alliance in the field of naval construction which would involve the German ThyssenKrupp group and the French DCNS military dockyards, the business newspaper said, citing sources close to the negotiations.

Germany had long rejected such a deal, fearing disputes with France over political control of the group and over which dockyards would remain open.

But a recent failure by ThyssenKrupp to sell its Blohm and Voss dockyards to Abu Dhabi MAR has given new impetus to the project which is backed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the paper said.

A joint venture might see France take charge of the construction of frigates, while Germany would be responsible for submarines, the paper suggested.

A deal between the French DCNS and the German electronic specialist Atlas Elektronik for manufacturing torpedoes could serve as an initial test for such a joint venture, the paper added.

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