Italian cruise ship builder Fincantieri is to go ahead with an initial public offering.

The state-owned company plans to raise cash for projects in the pipeline and to fund potential acquisitions by selling a 38.2% stake.

That would value the company, which is wholly owned by Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti through its Fintecna unit, at between €1.57 billion and €1.84 billion, and the initial public share offering at up to €704 million.

The proceeds of up to €600 million from the new share issue will be used to bolster Fincantieri’s finances.

Fincantieri chairman Vincenzo Petrone said: “We want to grow, we are number four in the world, the number three is South Korean and it’s twice our size.”

The company will focus on executing backlogged orders worth €9 billion.

Fincantieri has another €6 billion-worth of preliminary deals in place, which could translate into final contracts, allowing the company to exploit its shipyards to the full, executives said.

Chief executive Giuseppe Bono said: “Executing the current backlog will allow us a 50% growth in revenues in future years, lifting the company’s margins as well

“We are launching a cash call to have a solid capital structure to meet future challenges,” he told Reuters, adding the market was going through a consolidation process that could offer opportunities for the Italian group.