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Poland pulls plug on Airbus

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diplomatic spat between France and Poland has resulted following the latter’s decision to hand over a US$3.5bn helicopter deal that was mooted to be in the bag for France’s Airbus to rival US company Lockheed Martin. In April 2015, Poland selected Airbus Helicopters’ bid to modernise its helicopter fleet with 50 new H225M caracal multi-roles. The provisional deal was signed by the former government and opposed by the current ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS). In October, new prime minister Beata Szydło, who has been in power since October 2015, scrapped the deal and awarded the contract to Lockheed Martin for black hawks instead, citing poor value in terms of offset work for locals. France and Airbus have reacted with fury. The French government has said it will review its defense relationship with Poland, and François Hollande cancelled a presidential visit to Warsaw that was scheduled for October 13.

EBRD invests €25mn in Romania’s aerospace industry

“Although compensation of a value added tax through offset is not standard practice, Airbus Helicopters agreed to compensate this gross value.” Airbus

Meanwhile, Airbus has written an open letter to the Polish prime minister and threatened to seek “remedies” for misleading processes and allegations regarding its bid. The company argues that its offer would have generated more value in Poland than the revenues generated for Airbus Helicopters through the contract. It says the project would have led to the creation of 3,800 jobs in Lodz, Radom and Deblin. Airbus says it offered offset contract above the net value of the supply contract for the 50 helicopters, which was valued at PLN10.8bn. “The ministry of development required Airbus Helicopters not only to compensate this [net] value through offset, but also to

compensate an additional 23% corresponding to Polish VAT, to stay in Poland, leading to a total offset value of PLN13.4bn,” says the letter. “Although compensation of a value added tax through offset is not standard practice, Airbus Helicopters agreed to compensate this gross value.” Poland says that Lockheed and Italy’s Leonardo, which also lost out to Airbus in the original bidding, will now be asked to supply helicopters from their existing plants in Poland. Speaking during a visit to a helicopter repair factory following the announcement, Szydło said the award had previously ignored the capabilities of Lockheed’s Sikorsky plant in Mielec and Leonardo’s Swidnik facility.

Trio in line for EU free trade

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eorgia, Moldova and Ukraine have signed association agreements with the European Union in a move that foresees a free trade area between the countries and the bloc. The agreements are expected to lead to the development of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between each country and the EU, says the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and provide businesses and the economies of the countries with a vital boost.

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The agreements are expected to lead to the development of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between each country and the EU. “The DCFTA creates unique opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to export to the EU, with stable and predictable preferential access to the largest market in the world,” says EU commissioner for European neighbourhood

policy and enlargement, Johannes Hahn. “At the same time, the new framework requires firms to make the necessary investments and to set up the right conditions to comply with higher technical standards involved and to encourage new business relationships.”

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he European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has granted a €25mn loan to Universal Alloy Corporation Europe (UACE), a producer of aluminium components for aircraft, giving a boost to Romania’s growing aerospace industry. The credit is an extension of a €25mn loan EBRD provided to UACE in 2012, and will enable the company to increase capacity across all activities. It will also support the introduction of innovative technologies, such as full recycling of metal chips, as well as training of local staff. EBRD was not able to disclose the tenor of the loan. UACE, based in Maramures in northern Romania, supplies leading aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Premium AEROTEC, and has experienced increased demand as a result of the rapid growth of the air transport industry. EBRD says the investment is part of its efforts to bolster the competitiveness of Romania’s private sector and drive foreign direct investment in the country. According to EBRD director and regional head Matteo Patrone, Romania is moving toward a “more sophisticated manufacturing sector”. “UACE’s success proves that Romania can become a true hub for manufacturing, able to attract foreign investors to its qualified workforce,” he says. The company, a part of the Swiss-Austrian Montana Tech Components group, was set up in 2008 and is among the world’s four leading producers of metal aerospace parts. Earlier this year, the bank provided a US$8.5mn loan to Belgian aerospace company Sonaca to expand its operations in Romania.

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November/December 2016 issue  
November/December 2016 issue  
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