Fincantieri in talks to buy out Leonardo’s naval weapons business

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ROME – Italian shipyard Fincantieri is in talks with Italian Leonardo to acquire its naval weapons factory, formerly known as Oto Melara.

The deal, if done, would see Fincantieri take over production of the Leonardo-built 76mm and 127mm naval guns that he mounts on his warships and which have also been widely exported around the world.

“There are talks, but they are only at a very early stage,” a source close to the talks told Defense News after the talks were first reported by Italian newspaper Il Secolo XIX , who said a deal could be reached by the end of the year.

Leonardo’s production of naval guns and land turrets was once known as Oto Melara, a company owned by Leonardo when it was called Finmeccanica. Today, the operation is integrated into the company within the Defense, Electronics and Security division of Leonardo.

A possible deal between the two state-controlled Italian companies would mark the continuation of Fincantieri’s campaign to expand its operations beyond building warships, freight and cruise ships.

In January, the company won a contract worth nearly 100 million euros for the supply of equipment to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an international program to build an experimental fusion reactor capable of producing unlimited quantities of ‘clean energy.

The company previously worked on the construction of a new road bridge in Genoa, Italy, to replace the Morandi Bridge which collapsed in 2018, killing 43 people.

In 2018, Fincantieri attempted to buy Italian tech company Vitrociset, which is working on the F-35 program, only to get Leonardo to go ahead and take over the business first.

Fincantieri or Leonardo declined to comment on reports of talks about an agreement for the production of naval weapons, but an industry source said Fincantieri had worked so closely with Leonardo in the industry for so long that a purchase would work without problem.

The agreement could exclude the production by Leonardo of turrets for armored vehicles and tanks which once fell under the competence of Oto Melara and are now grouped in a joint venture between Leonardo and the Italian automaker Iveco.

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