Finmeccanica Spells Out Export Ambitions
Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi has spelled out the Italian firm’s ambitions in emerging markets by listing exactly what he aims to sell where as spending budgets shrink at home.
At a press conference in London on July 8 ahead of the Farnborough International Airshow, Orsi said that Cosmo Skymed, the SAR radar satellite system Italy has launched for civil and military use, had drawn interest from Poland and Australia, while South Africa, India and Algeria were interested in the ATR 72 aircraft in maritime patrol configuration similar to the one the Italian Air Force is buying.
Russia, which is trialling the new version Centauro tank built by Finmeccanica unit Oto Melara with Iveco, could be interested in Italy’s Future Soldier netcentric progam, Orsi said.
“Our Defense Ministry is talking to the Russian Defense Ministry about this,” he said. Russia’s defense minister was also paying a visit to Oto Melara this week, he added.
Bruno Spagnolini, the CEO of Finmeccanica unit AgustaWestland, said that the first three of a batch of AW101s sold to India would be delivered in November and Indian pilots were being trained in the U.K. at the firm’s Yeovil facility.
Asked about the reported sale of Tetra radios to the Syrian regime, reported by Wikileaks, Orsi said Finmeccanica had not broken export sanctions raised when the Syrian uprising began.
Export sales outside Finmeccanica’s home markets were due to rise to 52 percent in 2012, Orsi said. Finmeccanica now considers its home markets to be Italy, the U.K., the U.S. and Poland, where it has purchased defense firm PZL.
On the home front, Finmeccanica is now aiming to turn its Selex branded units in Italy and the U.K. into one single company by Jan. 1, 2013, Orsi said. He confirmed Finmeccanica is still aiming to offload businesses worth 1 billion euros by the end of 2013, despite growing resistance from unions and politicians in Italy.
Press reports have suggested Siemens is interested in buying Finmeccanica’s stake in its energy unit Ansaldo Energia.
Orsi said he was still looking for partners to take stakes in torpedo unit WASS and Oto Melara, “But I am very satisfied with them and this is not priority,” he said.
Orsi added he was lobbying Italy and the U.K. to do more to ensure they purchased products from Finmeccanica that could be subsequently exported. “When they write a procurement we are asking them to make the product more acceptable worldwide,” he said.
Finmeccanica was also seeking to benefit from the narrowing gap between civil and military technologies, Orsi said. “The division between civil and military technology is shrinking and it is important we develop technologies that we can use for both,” he said, citing cyberwarfare and satellite communications as areas where the two technologies are merging.