Finland and Meyer Werft may join to buy local shipyard from STX

TAMPERE Thu May 8, 2014 9:35am EDT

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TAMPERE May 8 (Reuters) - The Finnish government said it had teamed up with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to consider buying a troubled local shipyard from South Korea's STX Offshore & Shipbuilding.

The government in 2012 faced heavy criticism for not providing a loan to the Turku shipyard in southern Finland, which contributed to its loss of a 1 billion euro ($1.4 billion) order for cruise ships along with hundreds of potential jobs.

The government said on Thursday it could join with an industrial partner, family-owned Meyer Werft, to take over the shipyard.

"Both parties are firmly resolved to the ongoing negotiations, but they are still at an early phase," Jan Vapaavuori, the minister of economic affairs from conservative National Coalition party, said in a statement.

The announcement comes as Finland's co-ruling Social Democrats are gathered at a party congress and due to vote on Friday on whether to oust their leader and finance minister, Jutta Urpilainen. Her challenger, union boss Antti Rinne, has repeatedly slammed the government for failing to protect jobs in shipyards.

STX, hurt by a shipping industry downturn, last year said it was looking to sell some of its shipyards. ($1 = 0.7183 Euros) (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; editing by Jane Baird)

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