Piaggio gets funding boost

 - July 31, 2008, 10:08 AM

Italian government investment group Sviluppo Italia has bought a 20-percent stake in Piaggio Aero Industries for $20 million ($22.4 million). At the same time, the Italian airframer’s existing private shareholders have injected a further $15 million ($16.8 million) in fresh capital to fund new product development and increased manufacturing capacity. The firm is now capitalized at $80 million ($89.6 million)–roughly 15 times its value when it was rescued from bankruptcy by a consortium led by Piero Ferrari and José de Mase.

According to Piaggio, North American fractional-ownership program AvantiAir is poised to sign a “big” order for the company’s flagship Avanti twin pusherprop. The existing orders backlog for the type is currently eight in Europe and 14 in the U.S. The company is planning to boost annual output from 14 to 18 aircraft this year. At its June 20 annual shareholder meeting, Piaggio announced that 2002 sales grew by 7 percent to $136.26 million ($152.6 million).