The French government on Thursday gave its approval to the sale of STX France, the last gem in the country's once-thriving shipbuilding industry, to its Italian rival Fincantieri.
It has been majority owned by South Korea's STX Shipbuilding since 2008, but that company nearly went bankrupt a few years ago, and it has been looking to sell the profitable STX France business since 2013.
The government holds a minority 33 percent stake in the shipyard, and had considered nationalising the business in order to maintain the roughly 2,600 jobs at the site -- which also sustains a further 5,000 subcontracting jobs.
The deal approved Thursday calls for Fincantieri to acquire a stake of about 48 percent, while France's state-controlled naval shipbuilding DCNS will acquire 12 percent.
France will keep its 33 percent stake as well as a veto right, while an Italian investment group, Fundazione CR Trieste, will acquire the remaining shares.
Industry Minister Christophe Sirugue said Fincantieri would pursue "an ambitious industrial project" to bolster its cruise ship activity while diversifying into areas such as marine power.
Fincantieri, based in Trieste and with about 19,000 employees worldwide, was the only company to eventually bid for STX.
It has pledged to maintain jobs and activity at Saint-Nazaire, Sirugue said, but no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.