Mubadala and Tata increase equity in Piaggio Aero

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Mubadala and Tata are injecting an additional €190 million ($253 million) into Italian airframer Piaggio Aero, increasing their combined stakes to 85.5%.

The move comes as the Genoa-based company switches its focus increasingly towards the special missions market and away from the flat-lining business aircraft sector. Earlier this year Piaggio Aero unveiled an unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance version of its flagship P180 Avanti II twin-pusher called the P.1HH HammerHead.

Under the new structure, Indian industrial group Tata will hold 44.5% of the shares, while Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, will own 41%. Meanwhile, there is a dilution in the stake held by Piero Ferrari, head of the racing car family, who was part of the consortium that rescued Piaggio Aero from bankruptcy in 1998.

Piero Ferrari's shareholding will now be 2%, with the HDI hedge fund, which did not subscribe to the capital increase, holding the remaining 12.5%. However, Piaggio Aero is likely to retain its association with the Ferrari racing team, which uses an Avanti emblazoned with the famous prancing horse emblem.

As well as the HammerHead, which Piaggio Aero expects to gain certification next year, the company is investing €100 million in the other arm of its business, with a new aircraft parts and engine manufacturing and repair facility due to open in a few months.

Chief executive Alberto Galassi says the new shareholding structure and increased share capital "pave the way for our company's growth and reinforcing its prominent role in the business aviation and aero engines sectors".