The new flagship sets sail, MSC-Sace tug of war on credit facilities
In the presence of the delivery ceremony, even someone as tough as Gianluigi Aponte allows himself a smile, recommending his granddaughter Zoe Africa Vago, godmother of the ceremony, "to do her job well, as she always has..."di A. Qua.
Monfalcone – In the presence of the delivery ceremony, even someone as tough as Gianluigi Aponte allows himself a smile, recommending his granddaughter Zoe Africa Vago, godmother of the ceremony, "to do her job well, as she always has...": expectations of the shipowner are not disappointed, the bottle shatters on the 170 thousand tons of steel that make up "MSC Seascape", the largest ship built in Italy, which with the change of flag becomes the 21st in the fleet of MSC Cruises, the third largest company in the world of the sector.
Wednesday afternoon, having unveiled a plaque on board in honor of Giuseppe Bono, the man who made Fincantieri great, died suddenly last week, cruise ship number 191 built by the Italian shipbuilding group left for Civitavecchia, with 1,500 workers still on board for the finishing touches.
From there “MSC Seascape” will embark the first passengers (total capacity is over 5,600 guests) for the transatlantic cruise that will take her to New York. A big party on December 7, and then off to the Caribbean, which will become the home of the latest MSC unit of the Seaside class, the ships with a low stern and a promenade that goes all around, a project entirely by Fincantieri which in 2013 conquered MSC and led the firm to build ships in Italy for the first time.
But yesterday both Aponte in an informal conversation, and apertis verbis Pierfrancesco Vago (MSC Cruises Executive President) in the ceremonial speech, asked Matteo Salvini in his capacity as Minister of Infrastructure and Transport and perhaps even more as Deputy Prime Minister to intervene on the issue of export credit (wathc the video), along with a few other digs about the Italian bureaucratic system in general.
For shipyards, and obviously shipowners, export credit is a fundamental tool, because the loans that companies obtain for the construction of ships are guaranteed through insurance. The MSC is Swiss, and so all of Fincantieri's customers are foreign: Carnival, Viking, etc... The "Seascape", explains Vago, costs almost one billion euros, is paid for in 12 years and is amortized in 30: "Sace - that is, the agency of the Ministry of Finance that deals with export credit - cannot become a bank".
In short, Vago makes it clear that there is a negotiation to support new credit, but evidently on economic conditions or plafonds made available, there is no point of contact with Sace: "There are export credit agencies that in other countries they are very aggressive, they offer really good conditions” adds Vago on the sidelines of the ceremony.
Speaking with Salvini, Aponte makes the example of France precisely, which "has a better bureaucracy": and everyone knows that MSC Cruises is the only high-level client of the Chantiers de l'Atlantique, with two ships in option and plans for more four.
In Italy, an agreement between MSC and Sace is more than desirable, given that the orders to be placed in the pipeline are still five luxury units of the Explora Journeys brand (the first is already under construction in Monfalcone), part of which in the Sestri Ponente shipyard.
The value of all six is 3.5 billion, and the last two of the order would be hydrogen-powered, in order to respond to increasingly stringent international and European environmental standards, in force since 2023 and with respect to which MSC is pressing for a gradual entry into force, "because - says Vago - Europe has given us objectives, but has not shown us any way to achieve them" and objectively the technologies available today do not allow a green transition on a large scale.
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