Tata Joins Piaggio Family as One-Third Partner

Stewardship of Piaggio Aero is now an international triad.

Stewardship of Piaggio Aero, manufacturer of the P.180 Avanti II twin pusher turboprop, is now an international triad. Tata Ltd, a subsidiary of India's Tata Sons, has joined the ownership complement that includes the Ferrari and Di Mase families of Italy and Mubadala Development, based in the United Arab Emirates. Financial terms were not released, but Piaggio Aero CEO Jose Di Mase described the new ownership team as equal partners, each with a one-third stake. Also, each of the three will have three members assigned to the nine-person board of directors. Piaggio also outlined plans to build a new 100,000-square-foot factory in Italy to build Avantis. Expected to be completed in 2010, the new factory should boost production to 45 to 50 aircraft per year from the current rate of 30 in 2008 and 36 expected in '09. Mubadala Associate Director Homaid Abdulla Al Shemmari said at a press conference during the NBAA convention that Mubadala is keenly interested in developing an "aerospace hub" for technology development in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Piaggio is interested in developing a new aircraft -- having hinted it would be a jet. Tata's interest in Piaggio stems, in part, from company head Ratan Tata's passion for aviation. A licensed and active pilot, the elder Tata became interested in Piaggio during a visit to the Ferrari automobile factory, where he met Piero Ferrari, who is also chairman of Piaggio Aero. Tata Sons reported $62.5 billion of revenue in fiscal year '07/'08 and has 350,000 employees wordwide.