Abu Dhabi-based shareholder wants real say in Avanti

 - November 28, 2006, 9:58 AM

Mudabala Development, an investment company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, is considering playing an industrial role within Piaggio Aero (Booth No. 1644) after it recently acquired a 35-percent stake in the Italian-based company. Here at a Piaggio press conference yesterday, a board member from Mudabala insisted he is seeking more than just a financial return on investment.

Asked whether Mudabala will be involved in manufacturing, for example, Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi replied, “All options are on the table. As an investor, we are primarily looking for commercial gains, but Abu Dhabi has a solid aviation infrastructure and we are considering linking the two,” he stated. A possibility might be relocating some of Piaggio’s activities in the Emirate. Al Mokarrab ruled out supporting the sale of the Avanti business airplane in the Middle East for the moment, however.

Alberto Galassi, another board member, added the company definitely wants to “jointly develop Piaggio’s future jet with Mudabala.” He emphasized that Piaggio had the financial resources to develop the still-to-be-launched product even before Mudabala came in. But the decision was postponed to allow the new partner to take part in it.

Mudabala has now three of the seven seats on the board of directors.