PARIS, April 6 (Reuters) - Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has reached a preliminary deal to buy a stake of between 45 to 49 percent in French rival STX France, Le Monde newspaper reported on Thursday, citing sources with knowledge of the transaction.
The French government, which had been reluctant to see state-controlled Fincantieri alone hold more than 50 percent in the STX France shipyards, had considered nationalising them but had now discarded this option, Le Monde said.
A privately-held Italian banking foundation will hold another 10 percent of STX France, the newspaper added, while the French state will retain a 33 percent holding and French military shipbuilder DCNS could also get 10 percent.
STX France specialises in building cruise ships at its former naval yard at Saint-Nazaire, and its sale forms part of a broader disposal of businesses following the demise of South Korea's STX shipbuilding group.
The French industry ministry, which is due to hold a news conference on the matter later on Thursday, declined to comment. (Reporting by Sarah White and Myriam Rivet; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)