Italian Leonardo quits Sukhoi Civil Aircraft

Leonardo remains the Superjet 100 program’s partner Sukhoi Aviation Holding now owns 100% of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (Photo by Leonid Ferberg / Transport-Photo.com)

Italian aerospace and defense giant Leonardo (former Finmeccanica) has finally sold its share in the Russian joint venture Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAc), a manufacturer of Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100) regional aircraft. Nevertheless, it remains the program’s partner that supports the aircraft certification and sales in the Western world.

According to the document published by SCAC on January 9, 100% of its shares is now owned by Sukhoi Aviation Holding. The latter has acquired 5.53% stake from World’s Wings SA, Leonardo’s subsidiary, that is no longer affiliated with SCAC.

The decision of the Italian partner to quit SCAC is said to be influenced by both insufficient financial results of the SSJ 100 program and the growing share of Sukhoi.

Alenia Aeronautica (currently – Leonardo Aircraft), a member of the Finmeccanicа Holding) became a strategic partner of the SSJ100 program in 2009. It invested $183 million into the project in return for a blocking 25%+1 share in SCAC.

In 2014 the Russian government added extra 36 billion rubles to SCAC’s authorized capital to ease the manufacturer’s financial burden. This enables Sukhoi bought to increase its overall share up to 94.47% and leaving Finmeccanica with a 5.53% holding only. At that time the partners made a deal that the Italian party would retain the blocking power in SCA until 2017, when it was supposed to invest at least 390 million US dollars in the authorized capital. In 2015 the Russian government invested another 100 billion rubles to Superjet 100 program.

In 2016 it became clear the Italian holding made a decision to leave the joint venture considering it unprofitable. “As Leonardo-Finmeccanica adjusts the existing assets portfolio, the Italian colleagues took a decision not to invest additional funds [into SCAC], so Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s share is reduced as the shareholders’ agreements in roles in the program will be changed”, commented Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, Sukhoi’s parent company.

Nevertheless, Leonardo remains the SSJ100 program’s partner. The company still owns a 51%-share in Venice-based SuperJet International (SJI), another joint venture with Sukhoi. It is headquartered in Venice and provides SSJ 100 aircraft customization for western clients, as well as maintenance support and customer training. UAC reminds that the Italian partner continues to support the aircraft’s flight testing and EASA certification as well as sales and interiors production and supplies. Russia’s Kommersant daily reported earlier though that the Italian company was considering plans to decrease its SJI share from 51 to 10%.

“SCAC and SuperJet International continue to fully meet their commitments to the partners and customers”, assures UAC.

SCAC has not released official figures on the number of aircraft produced in 2016. But, according Komcity.ru, the company’s assembly site in Komsomolsk-on-Amur delivered 19 airframes last year which is two units more vs. 2015. SSJ100 production started in 2011, the highest number of aircraft, 35, was produced in 2014.

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