Piaggio Aerospace’s future ownership appears no closer to resolution after the Italian government minister responsible for the company extended its administration period by a further year.

Announcing the decision in the country’s parliament on 6 March, industry minister Adolfo Urso said the company could remain in extraordinary receivership – an Italian business restructuring process – until May 2025.

P180 Evo-c-Piaggio Aerospace

Source: Piaggio Aerospace

Piaggio produces the P180 twin-pusher turboprop

The administration was previously due to come to an end on 13 May this year, itself an extension from an earlier deadline, to allow the government-appointed officials running the company to launch another sale process, their third attempt to find new owners.

Piaggio, based in Villanova d’Albenga in Liguria, has been in extraordinary receivership since 2018 when its major shareholder, Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala, withdrew support.

Faced with multiple unsuccessful attempts to sell the company, Rome last year extended the deadline for the end of the administration to 13 May 2024, simultaneously launching the latest sale.

Although five bidders submitted binding offers by the 30 January deadline, there has been no progress since then.

Stressing Piaggio’s strategic importance to Italy, Urso says the extension was granted to allow the maximum time for the sale to be finalised and as other “credible and reliable” bids are still arriving.

Ligurian politicians have also been pushing for Italian aerospace champion Leonardo to become involved in the acquisition.

That was also hinted at by Piaggio’s extraordinary commissioners during a 4 March briefing with the company’s workforce union representatives.

“We have also looked into different options, including the involvement of national champions,” the commissioners said. “The objective is finding the best solution to relaunch undisputed Italian excellence worldwide, preserving both employment and production.”

However, as recently as last November Leonardo chief executive Roberto Cingolani appeared to rule out any interest: “We don’t want to be in the business of small aircraft – that would be a distraction,” he said at the time.

Urso says he has urged Leonardo to “evaluate the opportunity” but stresses that as a listed company it is obliged to make its own strategic decisions and follow the rules of the market.

On 9 March, Urso will meet with unions and management in Genoa to explain the current situation and the government’s plan B if a sale cannot be concluded.

Piaggio has several different revenue streams, including its P180 twin-pusher turboprop for both civil and military applications, plus an extensive maintenance business supporting the Italian armed forces.