Chinese firm Duofu International Holding Group’s aviation unit, Duofu Aviation, has announced the acquisition of Italian helicopter firm Fama Helicopters, headquartered in Castelvetro di Modena. The agreement was finalized during an online ceremony in China’s Beijing and Hangzhou, and Italy’s Milan on June 28.
What’s included in the agreement? Italy’s Fama, including its research and development (R&D) department and capabilities, production, sales and intellectual property rights, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Duofu, according to reports by Global Times, official media outlet of the Chinese Communist Party.
- Fama is a family business founded in 2009 by Antonino Famà and specialized in ultralight helicopters, fully engineered in Italy.
- The company’s key portfolio is its self-developed Kiss series, including light single-engine and twin-engine, multi-purpose helicopters as well as turboshaft engines.
- Fama counts 92 clients and operates in several international markets, including Europe, from France to Germany, to South Africa.
A strategic move for China. According to Liao Yunwu, vice chairman of Duofu Group and head of Duofu Aviation, the company expects to greatly reduce the costs and prices of helicopters by taking advantage of both advanced technologies and lower manufacturing costs in Wenzhou, China.
- Duofo aims to reduce the gap between China’s general aviation industry and the advanced capacities of developers abroad, increasing sales and international visibility.
- Duofo, headquartered in Beijing and Hangzhou, was founded in 2003 and had around 30,000 employees worldwide as of 2019, according to its website.
- The Chinese company has revenues of 175.3 billion Yuan (25 billion euros), and is among the 25th largest privately owned companies in China.
What’s to come? According to Global Times, Duofo will invest five billion Yuan to build a complete aviation industrial chain consisting of R&D, manufacturing, sales, and operations.
- This will encourage the formation of other major sectors, including aircraft leasing and management as well as aviation insurance, training bases, clubs, logistics, and high-tech innovation.
- It will help local governments upgrade the structure of emerging industries and create local jobs.
Reactions from Italy? No comments yet from the Italian government. However, in the past few months Palazzo Chigi has used its “golden power” to stop Chinese investments in key and strategic sectors in Italy.
- In March, the Italian government sanctioned Alpi Aviation, the military drone manufacturer from the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, eyed by Hong Kong’s Mars Information Technology.
- More recently, Italy blocked Chinese firm Efort Intelligence Equipment from growing its investment di Novara’s Robox, Italian company specialized in robotics, from 40% to 49 percent.