For Pipistrel, Sino tie-up a springboard for China
Ajdovščina, 8 November - Pipistrel, the Slovenian maker of ultralight aircraft, plans to leverage its recently signed seven-year, EUR 350m deal with Sino GA Group to expand on the cast Chinese market.
"A market analysis of the current general aviation market in China has shown great potential for cooperation," Pipistrel boss and co-owner Ivo Boscarol told the press on Tuesday in Ajdovščina as he presented the deal.
He said that China had validated four Pipistrel aircraft certificates, which has "opened immense possibilities for sales in China".
The deal involves Pipistrel and Sino GA Group setting up a joint venture to build two aircraft models, the Alpha Electro and Panthera Hybrid, in China.
Over 500 aircraft are to be produced annually at multiple production facilities, said Boscarol.
The Chinese partner will also have exclusive right to sell the aircraft in 14 Asian markets, and a transfer of design and engineering know-how from Pipistrel to China.
The partners will also exchange equity stakes, with Sino GA acquiring a 5% stake in Pipistrel for EUR 10m, with Boscarol and his daughter Taja acquiring 10.5% of Sino GA over a seven-year period.
Pipistrel plans to channel the money into developing a 19-seat hybrid electric-fuel cell passenger aircraft that would operate routes between Chinese cities.
The deal was first announced on 5 November and was sealed by the two partners at the recent meeting of Central and Eastern European leaders with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Latvia's Riga.
Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar, who attended Pipistrel's news conference today, said that China had great potential and was very important for all Slovenian companies.