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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Italian Aerospace Giant to Buy Stake in Sukhoi

ZHUKOVSKY, Moscow Region -- Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica on Thursday said it would buy a stake in the Russian Regional Jet program and cooperate with domestic aircraft manufacturers on a wide range of projects.

"We are looking at no less than 25 percent [in the RRJ]," said Finmeccanica general manager Giorgio Zappa, speaking on the sidelines of the Seventh Moscow Aviation and Space Show, MAKS 2005.

Zappa said he felt "optimistic" about the deal and hoped to finalize negotiations with Sukhoi -- the maker of RRJ -- within 20 days. He did not name the price that Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica would be prepared to pay.

Alenia is also expected to set up a joint venture with Sukhoi on composite materials, help it promote the RRJ internationally and offer its service centers for the post-sale maintenance of the regional jet, Federal Industry Agency chief Boris Alyoshin said in an interview.

Finmeccanica on Thursday also signed a general cooperation agreement with Irkut Corp. and Yakovlev design bureau.

Under the agreement, Alenia and Irkut -- the privately controlled manufacturer of Sukhoi fighters -- will set up a management company in Moscow to develop joint engineering projects in civil aviation.

Yakovlev, part of Irkut Corp., and Finmeccanica's subsidiary Aermacchi agreed to cooperate in marketing the Russian Yak-130 trainer jet and its Italian-made version, the M346. Both companies will also work together to turn the Yak-130 into a light combat jet, Irkut board chairman Alexei Fyo-dorov said.

The Yak-130 will also be used to test technology for a jointly developed unmanned aerial vehicle, Fyodorov said.

Separately, Alyoshin said that he had met with senior executives of Embraer, the Brazilian manufacturer of regional jets. He said that negotiations covered the possible assembly of Embraer's 50-seat ERJ 145 jet at a MiG production facility in Lukhovitsy, in the Moscow region.

An agreement may be reached by end of this year, he said.

Embraer was not available to comment on Thursday.