AgustaWestland denies reports of India probe

(Reuters) – AgustaWestland, part of Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica, is not under investigation over alleged irregularities in a deal to sell helicopters to India, the group’s UK chief said on Monday, denying media reports.

The headquarters of Italian defence and aerospace company Finmeccanica is seen in Rome May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Earlier this year, the reports said India had ordered a probe into the purchase of 12 helicopters from AgustaWestland because of alleged irregularities with the 560 million euros deal.

The reports said government officials could be involved in taking kickbacks for changing the terms and conditions of the deal in favour of the company.

“There isn’t an investigation going on in India as I understand it,” Finmeccanica’s UK chief executive Alberto De Benedictis told Reuters at the Farnborough Airshow.

“The Indians are not worried about it and in November we deliver our first three AW101 helicopters to India so things are progressing on plan as far as we are concerned”.

The Anglo-Italian helicopter company is growing well in emerging markets, said De Benedictis, though he added that the possibility of China’s military market opening up anytime soon was remote. It is currently illegal under EU law for European companies to sell military goods to China.

“It’s hard to tell where China will be as a military market for us in the future,” he said. “Clearly I think there’s an aspiration for China to be accessible but I think it will take some time for that to happen – it’s not imminent.”

De Benedictis said AgustaWestland plans to move the design, development and manufacture of the search and rescue model of the AW189 helicopter to Yeovil, south west Endland as part of a plan to focus on the commercial helicopter market at a time when defence budgets are under pressure.

“We also intend to bring aircraft production to the UK, assembly of AW169 helicopters and hopefully the AW189,” he said, adding the company would invest around 60 million pounds in the Yeovil site on top of 32 million pounds of funding and grants provided by the UK government.

(curtsey : reuter)

Rupesh Yatesh Dalal
Head Research Department

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