In the wake of the 4 October agreement to sell off its non-core power generation business, AgustaWestland and Alenia Aermacchi parent Finmeccanica has underscored its key short-term focus: to win major aircraft procurement deals.
Speaking exclusively to Flightglobal, chief executive Alessandro Pansa said that while its strategy is clear, the group’s drive to restructure around aerospace, defence and security is a hard job that will take years of focused effort. The new strategy follows a disastrous 2011, when losses at its power and road and rail transport divisions combined with a €750 million ($1.02 billion) write-down against its Boeing 787 work led to a net loss of more than €2.3 billion.
However, the deal with Fondo Strategico Italiano that values Ansaldo Energia at €777 million and €907 million, depending on performance through 2017, has provided Finmeccanica with a much-needed shot in the arm. Apart from providing cash to reduce the net debt that has been a drag on performance, Pansa says the sale announcement has given lift to Finmeccanica’s share price and won a vote of confidence in the “credibility of management” to carry out its restructuring plan.
Now, he says, winning contracts in international markets, where rivals are also bidding hard, is of “paramount importance”. Near-term possibilities include Eurofighter bids to supply Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Malaysia, and Poland’s interest in AW149 helicopters.
And, he adds, it is important to resolve legal troubles over bribery allegations in India. Pansa – who was finance director until his predecessor Giuseppe Orsi was forced to step down earlier this year over the scandal – called India a “legacy issue” that should not prevent Finmeccanica from being a solid partner in the country.
For more from Alessandro Pansa, see our Italy special report in the 5 November issue of Flight International.