The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Finmeccanica SpA signed today in Rome a EUR 500m finance contract for investments included in the Italian high-tech aerospace group’s multiannual plan. The loan for Alenia Aeronautica SpA (100%-owned by Finmeccanica) is intended for the production and development of technologically innovative aeronautical components. At the signing ceremony, the EIB was represented by Dario Scannapieco, Vice-President with responsibility for financing operations in Italy, Malta and the western Balkans, and Finmeccanica by Alessandro Pansa, the Group’s Joint General Manager.
This is the EIB’s first operation with Finmeccanica in a number of years. The loan is being granted against the backdrop of the current difficult general economic climate with the aim of underpinning the important industrial role played by Finmeccanica in Italy’s southern regions. The operation chimes fully with two of the EIB’s key lending criteria: use of funds for the expansion of production facilities located in Campania (Pomigliano d’Arco) and Puglia (Foggia, Grottaglie) – both Convergence regions of Italy according to EU parameters – and R&D financing. Furthermore, the technologically innovative aeronautical components produced meet the requirements of being lighter and more fuel-efficient and consequently have a positive impact in terms of reducing pollutant emissions, another EIB objective when financing projects in Europe.
"This operation confirms the EIB’s support for the Italian manufacturing sector and our backing for the Finmeccanica Group’s investment in the most advanced technology", stated Dario Scannapieco. "Furthermore, the funds will be used to finance research and production at facilities located in southern Italy, with positive knock-on effects for employment in regions that could be severely hit by the current recession", he added.
“The EIB loan”, remarked Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Finmeccanica, “is earmarked for the development of major production and R&D activities in a number of areas in the south of Italy where Finmeccanica has a strong presence, with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and highly qualified staff working on strategically important programmes for the Group. We are convinced that, thanks to these investments, we will be able to maintain and increase the level of excellence required to be competitive on the international stage”.
The European Investment Bank supports the strategic and policy objectives of the European Union by granting long-term loans for economically viable investment projects. The EIB’s shareholders are the 27 EU Member States. Italy is one of the four leading shareholders, along with the United Kingdom, Germany and France, each holding a 16.2% stake in the Bank. At end-2008, the EIB’s total financing amounted to EUR 355bn, of which EUR 45bn went to Italy.
Finmeccanica plays a key role in the aerospace and defence industry worldwide and is active in the sector’s major international programmes both through its own companies and via strengthened partnerships in Europe and the US. It is Italy’s leading high-tech group, specialising in the design and production of helicopters, defence and safety electronics, civil and military aircraft, aircraft structures, satellites, space infrastructure and defence systems. Finmeccanica also boasts manufacturing assets and important skills in the transport and energy sectors. Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, it operates through subsidiaries and joint ventures. The Group has over 73 000 employees, of whom more than 12 600 in the United States, around 10 100 in the United Kingdom and over 3 600 in France. With a view to maintaining and developing its own technological excellence, the Finmeccanica Group invests 12% of its revenues in R&D.