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MILAN, May 10 (Reuters) - Fincantieri has had positive discussions with the European authorities before formally submitting its deal to buy France's Chantiers de l'Atlantique to antitrust scrutiny, the Italian shipbuilder's managing director said on Friday.
Alberto Maestrini said Fincantieri was close to concluding the prenotification phase, which prepares the ground before formally informing the European Union's antitrust authorities.
Lawyers say the prenotification period can last about a month, although there is no fixed period.
Maestrini said discussions with the EU antitrust authorities had been positive but did not give any dates for the process. "It is not easy to make predictions about the timing of the procedure," he told a conference call on first-quarter results.
The European Commission said in January it would investigate Fincantieri's planned acquisition of its French rival after France and Germany asked it to do so.
Maestrini said the shipbuilder was confident the reasons given to the antitrust authorities would be taken into account.
Fincantieri signed an agreement to buy 50% of Chantiers de l'Atlantique from France at the start of 2018.
The deal was not submitted to the authorities last year because of its small size. But after France and Germany requested an assessment at the start of 2019, Fincantieri began the prenotification procedure.
(Reporting by Francesca Landini Editing by Edmund Blair)