Avio has opened its new production plant at Rivalta near Turin, Italy, where it will produce turbines, gears and accessory gearboxes. The Carlyle Group-owned company invested €130 million ($156 million) to upgrade a factory previously used by Fiat to produce automotive components.

The new plant will operate with 2,000 employees. Avio invested about €30 million in new production technologies such as heat and galvanising treatments, non-destructive testing, and magnesium alloy machining processes.

Meanwhile, managing director Saverio Strati says the company will continue to face difficulties in 2004, but start a steady recovery in 2005. Avio has posted revenues of €1.28 billion ($1.54 billion) for 2003, resulting in pre-tax earnings of €197 million.

Order intake was €1.42 billion in 2003, increasing the company's total backlog to over €2.3 billion. In the second half of 2003 debt was cut by €110 million to €963 million, while €133 million was sunk into research and development.

Source: Flight International