Finmeccanica expected to agree terms for Alenia to buy 25% of SCAC by mid-year

Finmeccanica should finalise its planned acquisition of a 25% stake in Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) for its Alenia Aeronautica division by mid-year in a move which Russia says will see at least €300 million ($360 million) invested by the company and the Italian government in the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ).

“We estimate the total financial participation of Finmeccanica, Alenia Aeronautica and the Italian government in the RRJ project will be not less than €300 million,” says Boris Alyeshin, head of Russia’s federal agency for industry. He admits, however, that the deal is unlikely to be finalised before mid-year, once all approvals are in place.

Half of the investment will come from the purchase of the 25% stake in SCAC, which is a 100% subsidiary of Sukhoi, says Alyeshin. The other half of the funds would cover Italian contributions to the RRJ programme during the development, flight testing and certification stage, as well to cover the creation of support infrastructure, customer support and training.

The latter requirement is said to be pushing the Italian group to explore the possibility of buying out its partner EADS’s stake in the 50/50 ATR joint venture, which would enable it to tap into the regional manufacturer’s worldwide support network. But ATR is adamant there is no plan for Finmeccanica to take complete control.

Alyeshin says the aim is to finalise the Alenia/SCAC tie-up “within six months”. The deal has corporate clearance from Alenia and its parent, and from Sukhoi, but two approvals are awaited – an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Italy and an amendment of Russian law which restricts foreign shareholdings in Russian aerospace companies to 25%.

Alenia technical director Alessandro Francioni says sales of 6,600 regional jets and 900 turboprops are forecast over the next 20 years worth $150 billion. In the RRJ family’s sector (75-110 seats) demand for 5,450 units is forecast.

Additional reporting by Pino Modola in Milan

Source: Flight International