Nuclear tension could develop between Paris and Washington

Tensions may arise between France and the United States over the acquisition of a France-based company. The French government wants to prevent Segault, which supplies submarine parts for nuclear submarines, from falling into the hands of the Americans. He writes Politico.

Conflicts between the two countries have arisen several times in recent years, reaching alarming proportions in 2021. Then Australia canceled a submarine contract worth more than 50 billion euros with Paris to buy nuclear-powered submarines from the United States instead.

Now France-based Segault, with fewer than a hundred employees, could be a problem. Segault’s current owner, Canadian industrial valve maker Velan Group, will be acquired by US mechanical engineering giant Flowserve in the acquisition announced at the start of the year.

Segault supplies parts for the French state shipbuilder’s Naval Group nuclear-powered submarines and manufactures industrial valves that are also used on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

Paris is therefore concerned that if the deal goes through and Segault comes under US control, Washington will gain access to strategically important French technology.

The deal has also become a political topic in France in recent weeks. Representatives of the right are urging Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire to prevent an American takeover.

According to French law, acquisitions of companies operating in strategic sectors must be reported to the Ministry of Economy in order to authorize or object to deals. The government has now confirmed that the Segault acquisition falls into this category and will be investigated once the French authorities are formally notified.

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According to a spokesman for the French Ministry of Defense, the government is currently looking for a French buyer, but has not disclosed details of the offers it has received so far. However, he noted that the French Ministry of Economy has the final say.

Cover photo: the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (Photo: French Ministry of Defence)

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