AgustaWestland restructures HeliVert ownership
AgustaWestland is to restructure the ownership of its Russian joint venture HeliVert, with Moscow-based oil firm Rosneft taking a 30% stake in the business, formerly a 50-50 tie-up with Russian Helicopters. Rosneft will acquire 20% of the company from the latter, with the remaining 10% relinquished by AgustaWestland. The details of the pact emerged as RN-Aircraft, a subsidiary of Rosneft, placed a firm order worth €160 million ($173 million) for 10 AW189s, which will be assembled at the HeliVert facility in Tomilino, near Moscow. Deliveries will run from 2015 to 2017. It is the first firm order to emerge from a framework agreement the oil giant signed with AgustaWestland last year, covering the acquisition of as many as a 160 examples of the 8.3t rotorcraft in the period to 2025. AgustaWestland gave few details on the reasons for the change in ownership, save for saying that the move will “strengthen its industrial collaboration with its Russian partners”. HeliVert has since June 2012 been assembling the smaller AW139 for the Russian and CIS markets, with first flight of a Russian-built example taking place in December that year. Production capacity is 20 helicopters per year, however sales appear to have been underwhelming, with only a handful so far delivered.