Boeing’s attempt to make a bid to buy Italian Westland helicopter maker has been rejected by Finmeccanica.
The takeover attempt was also part of a tortuous wrangle between Boeing and Finmeccanica over a £2bn contract to upgrade the army’s fleet of Apache attack helicopters, The Sunday Times news daily reported.
Industry sources were quoted as saying by the news daily that Boeing made at least one informal approach earlier this year to buy the Yeovil factory from its embattled Italian owner, Finmeccanica.
While the approach was rebuffed, it underlines Boeing’s ambitions in defence. The US company is now the MoD’s 10th biggest supplier and recently won an order for nine P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, yet it does not have a substantial manufacturing presence in Britain.
Buying Westland, which forms part of Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland empire, would help it grow in Europe and consolidate its work on MoD helicopters.