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Mexicans acquire a portion of aerospace firm

Admin | 05.12.2012

The program for the acquisition of European aerospace companies by Mexican investors for technology transfer to Mexico has yielded its first fruit.

The program for the acquisition of European aerospace companies by Mexican investors for technology transfer to Mexico has yielded its first fruit.

The initiative, known as Programa Cuervo, allowed Mexican investors to invest US$14 million to purchase 35% of the Italian company Villella Aerospace and open a subsidiary in Mexico, controlling 75% of such subsidiary. The European partners will contribute with know-how and will be responsible for technical operation.

Villella performs processes which complexity Mexican companies do not master yet; such processes include design, high precision welding, chemical baths and several assemblies.

The company’s customers include Airbus, Embraer, Augusta Westland, Alenia Aermacchi, among others.

Programa Cuervo has support from Nacional Financiera (Nafin), the Mexican Foreign Trade Bank (Bancomext) and the Ministry of the Economy; its purpose is forming consortiums of Mexican investors to acquire companies from the sector in Europe, where companies are facing financial trouble and little access to credit. There is also the option to make co-investments with such companies.

The benefits for Mexico include access to technology, which has not developed in Mexico yet, access to customer portfolios and process certification by European authorities.

Marcelo Funes-Gallanzi, CEO for Avntk, the Mexican company that heads the project, explained that currently most aerospace firms in Mexico are foreign.

In order to benefit more from the sector’s growth, he said, Mexico needs to create a chain of domestic suppliers, especially small and medium size, because companies from this sector are less prone to leave Mexico if they find lower production costs.

The purpose of Proaereo Program, launched this year by ProMexico, is that by 2020 50% of this industry consists of Mexican companies.

Villella Aerospace North America, the name of Villella’s Mexican subsidiary, is already looking for customers in the Mexican and American markets.

Enrico Altieri, Business Development Director for the company, estimated that plant construction will start in the second half of next year, and production by the end of 2014. Between 20 and 30 people will be initially hired in Mexico, to be trained in Italy while the plant is being built. The plant’s location has not been disclosed yet, but the most likely possibilities are either Chihuahua or Nuevo Leon.

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