None of the contenders for Australia's new submarines has yet come forward with a bid to buy government-owned sub builder ASC.
But there's some interest, with German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems declaring last week it would seek to acquire ASC if it wins the submarine deal.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he hadn't yet been approached by TKMS or any of the other bidders.
"No, I haven't," he told a Senate committee on Wednesday.
Under the government's competitive evaluation process, German firm TKMS, French firm DCNS and the Japanese government have been invited to submit their submarine designs, plus options for construction in Australia, overseas or a bit of both, along with indicative costs and delivery schedule. A decision is expected early next year.
Senator Cormann revealed that Japanese government and defence officials plus representatives of their submarine builders Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries visited ASC in Adelaide on Tuesday.
They will visit the ASC facility in Western Australia on Thursday.
Senator Cormann said their objective was to assess Australian industry capabilities.
"There has been interaction between ASC and representatives from Germany, France and Japan in recent months," he said.
Labor has accused the government of giving Japan "red carpet treatment" in the process.
Opposition defence spokesman Stephen Conroy says the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has gone ahead with a "captain's pick" to give the contract to Japan in a "sham process" that has overlooked French and German companies.
"There is a softening-up process taking place by senior government ministers because they know they've already done the deal to deliver the submarine build to Japan," he told reporters in Canberra.