Romania appears poised to sign a deal for four corvettes with French company Naval Group pegged at €1.2 billion, despite being challenged by Dutch shipbuilder Damen.
“There is a dispute, in fact not one, there have been several lawsuits that have been initiated by a competitor against the contract award decision taken by the tender commission. As soon as these litigations are over in court, from our point of view, we are ready to sign the contract. For us, it is essential to sign and fulfill this contract. The construction of the four corvettes is critical in Romania’s strategic device at the Black Sea,” Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban was quoted as saying by Mediafax on October 26.
Naval Group (France) ousted Ficantieri (Italy) and Damen (Netherlands) who were also vouching for the contract in winning the mega-deal, initially estimated at €1.6 billion.
The selection of the French company caps a drama-filled competition process in Romania. In July last year, Romtehnica, the state company that organized the tender to buy four multirole corvettes for the Navy, notified the association between the French Naval Group and Constanţa Naval Shipyard that it has won the tender.
In October 2019, the Bucharest Court rejected an appeal filed by the Damen, after the Defense Ministry awarded the contract to the association between Naval Group and Constanta Shipyard. According to information circulated by media and partly confirmed by defense minister Gabriel Leş, Naval Group submitted a bid of €1.2 billion, the other offers being higher: €1.25 billion (Damen) and €1.34 billion (Fincantieri), Romania Insider had reported last year.
The contract includes construction of four Gowind corvettes and modernizing the country’s two T-22 frigates and construction of a maintenance and training center.