The multinational aerospace manufacturing company Piaggio Aerospace - headquartered in Savona (northwest of Italy), also become famous due to its shared ancestry with motor vehicle manufacturer Piaggio - has undergone a severe financial and liquidity crisis in the last four years.
Today Piaggio Aerospace is wholly owned by Abu Dhabi state-owned Mubadala Development Company (renowned for its past investments in famous brands like Ferrari and Ballantyne), being the investment company responsible for the new and recently approved five-year industrial plan of the manufacturing company. The five-year industrial plan is built around various strategic pillars that aim to focus Piaggio Aerospace's core business on the P.1HH Hammerhead program (first deliveries of which are expected in 2018) and on the development of a new production and marketing strategy for the P.180 business aviation program. The P.180 Avanti II aircraft is globally known for its high performance, hi-tech avionics and significantly reduced operating costs.
During a shareholders' meeting in December 2017, Piaggio Aerospace's CEO explained that the industrial plan following the recent financial losses does not exclude the sale of some activities and business units of the company (including the engine and maintenance departments), as well as the intervention of new potential investors. In fact, recently, Mubadala informed the Italian authorities of the possibility to sell the intellectual property behind the production of the P.180 turbojets to PAC Investments, a Chinese state-backed consortium based in Luxembourg. However, at the end of 2017 the Italian Government has endorsed the use of its so-called "golden power" in light of concerns over the transfer of sensitive technology abroad and potential loss of jobs in the Italian plants. The "golden power" allows the government to veto or set conditions on asset sales or mergers that are deemed of strategic national importance.
As mentioned, the other objective of the five-year plan is to develop the P.1HH Hammerhead program, the multipurpose unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for aero, marine and ground surveillance and patrol purposes, which is built with a unique twin-pusher engine configuration.
The said industrial objectives clearly stress that Piaggio Aerospace will concentrate its core business on the design and production of drones. Indeed it is not by chance that, among the conditions set by the Italian Government to finalize the sale of the P.180 business to the Chinese PAC investment firm, Piaggio shall guarantee a full separation between civil jets and the military related intellectual property, along with the commitment to invest most of the sale's proceeds into the military unit devoted to the development of a new generation of drones.