The long-awaited merger of Italy's two rival trainer aircraft manufacturers has finally gone through, with Aermacchi taking over Siai Marchetti from the Alenia-Finmeccanica group.

Aermacchi plans to move all the activities from Siai's Seso Calene plant, which is not included in the sale, to its own site at Venegono, with around 80 of the 380 jobs due to be shed in the move.

The deal allows Aermacchi to offer Siai's SF-160/260 turboprop and S-211 jet trainer alongside its own MB-339 family and the Redigo turboprop programme acquired from Finland's Valmet.

Besides the trainer business, Aermacchi will also take over Finmeccanica's nacelle manufacture for Airbus aircraft and Dassault Falcon business jets, which had been carried out by Alenia in Turin. This business could be worth L50 billion ($31 million).

Aermacchi's overall sales edged down to around L260 billion in 1996, but the group could see that increase to the L300 billion mark by the end of 1998 as the new companies are absorbed.

A merger between the two companies has been in prospect ever since the Italian industry began its consolidation five years ago, but finally emerged after the re-organisation at Finmeccanica, which also holds a minority 25%stake in Aermacchi. The remainder is held by the Foresio family.

With the Italian manufacturers now tied up, the longer-term ambition is for Aermacchi to join with other European manufacturers in winning a share of a future joint advanced trainer programme. Preliminary talks are understood to have taken place within the European industry.

Source: Flight International