Leonardo to Take Lead Role in €3bn Qatar Helicopter Deal

Qatar Ministry of Defence and Leonardo sign €3bn helicopter deal, Photo: Leonardo

It was announced on March 14, at the DIMDEX Exhibition in Doha that Leonardo, a state-controlled, global high-tech company headquartered in Italy and a key player in Aerospace, Defence, and Security is to take the lead role in a €3 billion (US$3.7 billion) 28-helicopter deal with the Qatar Ministry of Defence.

The deal is for 16 of the twin-engine medium-size military helicopter NH90 TTH variant (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land operations, and 12 of the NH90 NFH variant (Nato Frigate Helicopter).
It is understood that a further 12 aircraft may be added to the deal, which should see deliveries take place from June 2022 through to 2025. According to Leonardo, the helicopters will be used for land and naval missions, and for support, maintenance and training services.

The contract for the production of the aircraft is with NHIndustries, a consortium established in 1992 by Eurocopter of France and Germany (now Airbus Helicopters), Agusta of Italy (now AgustaWestland and a wholly owned subsidiary of Leonardo) and Stork Fokker Aerospace of the Netherlands (now Fokker Aerostructures), who respectively hold a 62.5%, 32% and 5.5% stake.

Leonardo has not revealed what proceeds it will get from the Qatar deal, though according to Reuters, a source close to the matter said the returns from the contract would not be divided according to the three companies’ holdings in the NHI consortium. However, the deal is likely to help Leonardo with its bid to return to double-digit profitability by 2020, half-way through its five-year plan.

The contract is the biggest deal state-controlled Leonardo has signed since May last year when Chief Executive Alessandro Profumo took charge, embarking on ambitious expansion plans. This deal is a boost for Leonardo’s helicopter business, which weighed on the Leonardo group’s results, forcing it to cut 2017 revenue and profit guidance in November.

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