Sikorsky pays $83m for PZL Mielec

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PZL Mielec is to become the focus of Sikorsky's European operations after the US helicopter manufacturer last week agreed an $83 million deal to acquire the Polish manufacturer.

Sikorsky agreed in September to establish Mielec as the assembly centre for the International Black Hawk helicopter. The United Technologies (UTC) subsidiary also plans to use the site as a second source for Black Hawk cabins for the US Army, as production ramps up through 2007 and 2008.

As many as 36 Black Hawks will be delivered from the Polish site for painting and delivery to customers once production reaches full capacity. Initial deliveries are due in 2008. Sikorsky says Mielec's other product lines will be retained "as long as there is a business case".

Sikorsky says it identified Poland as the potential base for its European manufacturing because of the successful long-term relationship between UTC and Polish industry, including its ownership of engine-maker PZL Rzeszow.