AgustaWestland chopper deal: Finmeccanica calls for ‘transparent’ solution

Rome, June 1: Acknowledging Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s threat of being blacklisted, Italy’s Finmeccanica, which is being investigated for bribery in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, has called for a ‘transparent’ solution, saying that if the matter is not sorted soon then it will “assess” its ongoing projects of supplying components and essential services to India.

“India is an interesting market for Leonardo-Finmeccanica, and therefore the Company hopes that an agreed and transparent solution is found as soon as possible, in order to shed light on current initiatives and future business opportunities. Should this not be the case, the Company will not refrain from assessing the situation given the limited size of the ongoing business in the country,” Finmeccanica said in a statement.

However, the company added that it has not received any official communication from India regarding the initiation of a blacklisting process by government.

Asserting that exposure of Finmeccanica’s business to India is very marginal, the statement said that over the past few years, no new orders coming from the country have been included in their Budget forecast.

“In particular, the contract for the supply of torpedoes was never formally signed and therefore never included in Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s backlog. Despite the context of uncertainty, Leonardo-Finmeccanica, in the spirit of cooperation, has over the past few years continued to supply India with the components and services essential to ensuring the operation of platforms and equipment for the country’s armed forces,” the company said.

Parrikar had said earlier that the government has decided to cancel all ongoing tenders for defence equipment won by Finmeccanica ahead of blacklisting of the firm, which is being probed for bribery charges in VVIP chopper deal.