French industrial giant DCNS is seeking a possible tie-up in its submarine activities with German rival ThyssenKrupp, one of its directors said in comments to German newspapers on Wednesday.
"It's not perhaps the best moment just now for such discussions, but once the German side has overcome its disappointment, we'd be ready" to talk, DCNS' head of strategy, Andreas Loewenstein said.
DCNS recently beat ThyssenKrupp in a bid for a 34-billion-euro ($38-billion) contract in Australia.
His comments were reported by a number of German newspapers after a meeting with their correspondents in France.
Loewenstein argued that a tie-up between the two European groups was necessary to retain the industry in Europe as new rivals emerge from China, South Korea and India.
The two sides had entertained the possibility of joining forces in the past, without any concrete plans materialising.
"The day after such a decision (on the Australian contract) may not be ideal to start discussing a project like this," a spokesman for DCNS told AFP.
The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), without revealing any sources, suggested the German government was annoyed that the Australian tender was "too vaguely" formulated and discriminated against bids from ThyssenKrupp and Japan's Mitsubishi.