Italian engine systems manufacturer Fiat Avio unveiled its new identity and signed a deal here yesterday.

Final details of the sale to new owners Finmeccanica and the Carlyle investment fund are still to be confirmed - though price and governance issues has been agreed according to Saverio Strati, chief executive of what will soon be known as plain and simple Avio.

The company signed a $300 million deal here in Le Bourget with Europrop International to supply the propeller gearbox for the TP400-D6 engine which will power the new Airbus A400M military transport aircraft.


It will be the largest propeller gearbox ever developed in the western world.

With Italy's decision to withdraw from the participating nations in the A400M programme Fiat Avio had to restructure its bid for the work. "We had to compete merely as a supplier, just selling a product," says Strati. "We obviously won the tender by the quality of our bid."

The deal will secure jobs in Fiat Avio's new manufacturing plant in Rivalta, near Turin. Giving an overview of the current economic climate he acknowledged revenues fell in 2002 and that the first half of 2003 has been extremely tough. The company is exposed in the space and civil aviation markets where spending has been slashed.

Unveiling the new company logo - the same as the existing one with the name Fiat removed - he admitted that their had been a "minor adjustment" on the price which the consortium was paying.

Explaining the delays in announcing the deal he said: "The contract we signed here with Europrop runs to 400 pages, and that's just for gearboxes.

"You can imagine how long the document to buy the company is. We're looking forward to the conclusion of those negotiations," he added.

Source: Flight Daily News