Nearly Blacklisted, Finmeccanica Could Lose BIG In India

A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the potential losses of business in the Indian defence market, as a result of a virtual blacklist, for Finmeccanica amount to about $10-billion in the near term. Not that it was on its way to winning, but the Navy's multirole helicopter (MRH) programme, in which AgustaWestland JV NHIndustries participates with the NH90, could be untouchable now. With bids still to be opened in what has been a long and bitter competition against the Sikorsky S-70B, it remains to be seen if the government will proceed with opening bids and hand the deal to Sikorsky -- or simply pull the plug and call for fresh bids and new competitors. The other programme is the newly floated Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) bid for 56 light copters. AgustaWestland has put forth the AW109 LUH as a contender against the Sikorsky S-76B, Bell 429 and Eurocopter AS 565 MB Panther. It might as well withdraw. No chance. Finally, the big IAF HS-748 Avro replacement programme, that's seen Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aermachhi mount a high-profile campaign on the C-27J Spartan. Not happening. There are others too that could potentially be singed by a blacklist -- Finmeccanica has equity fingers in tens of companies. Cynical? Overreacting? You don't know how Indian politics works.

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