MOSCOW --- EADS and Irkut have agreed to further strengthen their cooperation by signing important agreements at MAKS air show.
Stefan Zoller, CEO of the Defence and Security Systems Division and member of the Executive Committee of EADS, and Oleg Demchenko, President of Irkut, signed an agreement confirming the intention for a strategic investment in the Russian plane manufacturer through the prospective acquisition of newly-issued shares, representing up to 10 % of Irkut's outstanding capital. The parties envisage the transaction to be closed at the end of 2005.
“It is part of the global strategy of EADS to form partnerships with the Russian industry. Russian aerospace companies are currently preparing for industry consolidation and future market success – and we want to be part of it”, said Stefan Zoller. “Irkut is definitely one of the most dynamic companies in the Russian aerospace industry and therefore a partner of choice for EADS in this country.”
Moreover, Demchenko and Zoller signed the legal documents to incorporate a Joint Venture between EADS and Irkut. This new company, EADS IRKUT Seaplane SAS, will give further boost to the joint marketing of the Be-200 amphibious aircraft. It will be responsible for sales, marketing, and product support of the Be-200 programme on the world market and for the management of the international certification process of the aircraft.
Irkut will own 70 % of EADS IRKUT Seaplane SAS, EADS 30 %. The certification of the Be-200 outside of Russia will be carried out by Irkut and supported by EADS and its affiliates, including Airbus. The Be-200 is currently in operation with the Russian Ministry of Disaster Relief and with the Italian Protezione Civile. Other customers in Mediterranean countries, South East Asia and the U.S have also expressed their interest in the aircraft.
“The Be-200 is a truly unique aircraft”, said Stefan Zoller. “No other fire fighting plane can match the performance of the Be-200 in terms of cruising speed, freight capacity and water scooping capability. Offering the world-wide service network of EADS to potential customers will significantly leverage its market potential.”
The Be-200 is a multi-role aircraft that can be used for a whole range of tasks: search and rescue (SAR), transportation of passengers and freight, maritime surveillance and others. For the time being, experts estimate the best chances in the world market for the fire-fighting version. The plane can start and land on water and is able to load 12 tons of water in 17 seconds.
EADS IRKUT Seaplane S.A.S will be managed by Johannes Falke. Falke has gained a vast experience in working with Russian partners in his previous function as Director of MAPS, a joint venture between EADS, RSK MiG and Rosoboronexport. This company has carried out the westernisation and upgrade of MiG-29 aircraft operated by the German Luftwaffe until 2004.
“The strategic cooperation agreement we signed with Russia in 2001 has generated constantly expanding activity and already shown impressive results”, said Jean-Paul Gut, Chief Operating Officer of EADS. “Our successful cooperation programmes in Russia include subcontract work for Airbus, the ECAR engineering centre, the Russian Technology Office, which explores possibilities for cooperation in research and technology, marketing of satellite communication payloads and the launch of Soyuz spacecraft from the European launch pad in Kourou.”
Irkut Corporation is a vertically integrated holding company that designs, manufactures, sells and services military and civil aircraft. Irkut Corporation is one of the leading manufacturers of the successful Sukhoi military fighter jet series. Its order book amounts to 3.9 billion USD. The product range includes Su-30 MKI (for India) and MKM (for Malaysia), the trainer aircraft Yak 130, the amphibious plane Be-200 and UAVs.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2004, EADS generated revenues of EUR 31.8 billion and employed a workforce of about 110,000. The EADS Group includes the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the world's largest helicopter supplier Eurocopter and the joint venture MBDA, the international leader in missile systems. EADS is the major partner in the Eurofighter consortium, is the prime contractor for the Ariane launcher, develops the A400M military transport aircraft and is the largest industrial partner for the European satellite navigation system Galileo.