Finmeccanica Rebrands as Leonardo

 - April 6, 2016, 7:58 AM

The recent branding confusion that has been swirling around Italian aerospace and defense conglomerate Finmeccanica, parent of Finmeccanica Helicopters, will soon end as the company rebrands as Leonardo. The name is a nod to 15th and 16th Century Italian artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, widely credited with devising the first concept for the helicopter. The name change will become official next January.  For the remainder of the year the company will operate as Leonardo-Finmeccanica SpA. Finmeccanica Helicopters had previously been known as AgustaWestland and its helicopters are still identified by their “AW” model designations. AgustaWestland had been using the name “Leonardo” for its online customer portal for some time.

Late last year, Finmeccanica CEO Mauro Moretti hinted at a new name for the company that would be “recognizable, simple [and] very Italian.” In announcing the name change, Moretti said Finmeccanica was looking for something to “reflect the history of our evolution in space and security,” adding that the company's slogan would also change to “genius at your service.” Moretti had been waiting to release the name change plans in concert with Finmeccanica's improved financial results, announced in March. 

Moretti has overseen an extensive restructuring of the company since becoming CEO in 2014, paying down debt, spinning off non-core assets and improving cash flow as part of a plan to rebuild the conglomerate into a global defense and aerospace powerhouse. Since that time, its stock price has almost doubled. Year 2015 results reflect the success of this strategy; net profit increased to €527 million ($600 million) from €20 million ($22.8 million) in 2014 while debt dropped 17 percent and sales increased 2 percent, to €13 billion ($14.8 billion). Even in a very soft 2015 helicopter market, Finmeccanica saw revenues from that division increase 2.4 percent to €4.48 billion($5.1 billion); however, new orders dropped 14.2 percent.