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Pipistrel enters into EUR 350m deal in China

Ajdovščina, 29 October - Pipistrel, the Slovenian maker of ultralight aircraft, has signed a EUR 350m memorandum of understanding on a long-term joint venture with the Chinese Sino GA Group, a member of the Sino Group, the company said on Saturday.

Pipistrel's assembly plant in Ajdovščina.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

Under the agreement, the two partners aim to launch an aircraft factory in China where electric aircraft will be manufactured, especially the Alpha Electro and Panthera Hybrid models, with a capacity of over 500 aircraft per year.

The partners also "agreed to exchange a part of capital shares and partial ownership during the duration of the contract," Sino GA Group said in a press release.

The entire project, which includes the construction of new aircraft production facilities, a runway, and a maintenance and training facility, is valued at EUR 500m, with the cooperation with Pipistrel alone worth EUR 350m.

The agreement gives the Chinese partner exclusive rights to use the technology and to produce two aircraft models in China, as well as the exclusive right to sell the aircraft in China and 13 other Asian countries.

Pipistrel will initially deliver 50 of each model, train personnel in Slovenia and implement the assembly process in China, which includes the factory design, special machinery and tools, and company management organisation.

Pipistrel will use a part of the amount for the development of "a new, very innovative zero emission 19-seat aircraft powered by hybrid electric technology," planned for public transport, the press release says.

The deal will be officially presented at the 2 November China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhu Hai, the biggest Air show in China.

The contract will be formally signed on 5 November at the summit meeting of the prime ministers of 15 Central and Eastern European Countries plus China in Riga.

© STA, 2016