Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The Naval Group of France and Italy's Fincantieri have welcomed a joint government process that paves the way for future cooperation in naval defense.
The agreement for a future alliance was signed Wednesday by the two governments, with the companies playing key roles on a steering committee to define a roadmap for it.
"Our two groups have already successfully cooperated on the Horizon and FREMM frigates programs and we look forward to achieving together our European ambition while serving our international development on a growing competitive naval defence market and continuing to support the Italian and French navies," Naval Group Chief executive officer Hervé Guillou and Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said in a joint statement.
The roadmap is to be developed by June of next year.
The government agreement signed Wedneday also covered the shareholding structure of STX France, a shipbuilding concern, which would be acquired by the companies part of the alliance's activities.
Naval Group, formerly called DCNS, designs, builds and supports submarines and surface ships. Fincantieri is one of the world's largest shipbuilding groups.