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Finmeccanica-EADS Agreement for Alenia Aeronautica
On 14 April, Finmeccanica selected EADS (European Aeronautic, Defense and Space) as Alenia Aeronautica strategic partner, putting aside the rival collaboration plan proposed by UK company BAe Systems to the Italian firm.
EADS, announced mid 1999, comprises German DASA, French Aerospatiale Matra and Spanish CASA aerospace companies. BAe Systems, from its side, is the result of the merger between British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems occurred beginning 1999.
The bulk of the aviation industry of the European five major countries results now largely shared between the two alliances. The corporate structure of both groups is still under definition, due to peculiar situations. There are cross-collaborations in the Eurofighter and Airbus consortia, participation in the capital of third companies (BAe Systems in Saab, Alenia in Aermacchi, Aerospatiale Matra in Dassault Aviation and Embraer). Above all it stands the still pending reorganization of Airbus Industrie as an autonomous asset.
The Finmeccanica-EADS agreement does not represent a complete merger of Alenia Aeronautica with the other three companies converging in the EADS formation process. It centers in the set-up, before the end of the year, of an Alenia Aeronautica-EADS Joint-Venture Company, accordingly named JV Co, as a flexible container of various industrial programmes.
A significant result of the agreement is the creation, for the first time, of majority groups inside the consortium Eurofighter (62,5% Alenia+CASA+DASA) and the Panavia (57,5% Alenia+DASA).
The recent Finmeccanica strategic choice will affect the restructuring process of the European aerospace industry, now in full swing, and JV Co. will be a player, in the near future, in the reshaping of important collaboration programmes. For example, Alenia Aeronautica has a 15% stake in the A 400M (ex FLA) military airlifter programme. It is also a 50% partner in the German-Italian Future Maritime Patrol Aircraft and it is in the same position with Aerospatiale Matra inside the ATR consortium.
The long awaited participation of Alenia Aeronautica to Airbus Industrie is closer with the option for a 5% share of the forthcoming Airbus entity. The possibility to become a risk-sharing partner of the project to launch A 3XX wide-body airliner is also substantially confirmed.
Some other major Alenia Aeronautica products are apparently less easy to integrate inside the of JV Co. structure. The AMX tactical fighter, for example, derives from a collaboration with Aermacchi and Embraer (now partly owned by Aerospatiale Matra). The tactical transport LMATTS C-27J is a collaborative enterprise with Lockheed Martin and competing head-on with EADS member CASA CN-295, notwithstanding they are two quite different aircraft.
In the pictures two aircraft connected to the agreement between Finmeccanica and EADS: Eurofighter EF 2000 DA 3 RS-0, landing at Grosseto during the Giornata dell'Ala 1999 air show, and the prototype CASA C-295 EC-296 exhibited at the 1999 Paris Air Show.
(Aeromedia, May 2000)