UAC United Aircraft Corporation (Zhukovsky) has said it will completely withdraw from SuperJet International, a joint venture it owns together with Italy’s Leonardo that is responsible for marketing SSJ 100/95 regional jets outside Russia.

In separate statements, UAC and the Venice Marco Polo-based JV announced on February 28 that the Russian aerospace and defence corporation would sell its 49% stake in SuperJet International to Mark AB Capital Investments of the United Arab Emirates and exit the program entirely.

The deal will see UAC transfer design and production authority to SuperJet in Venice while UAC establishes through its Irkut (Irkutsk Northwest) subsidiary a new production plant at Al Ain in the UAE. There will be a steady increase in the workforce to 800 employees, split roughly equally between Venice and Al Ain, the statements said.

However, Mark AB’s acquisition of the shares will be possible only after the necessary approvals from the Italian and Russian regulatory authorities, which will allow for the unfreezing of the JV’s shares and assets. On the Italian side, this would have to come from the financial transparency watchdog (Comitato di Sicurezza Finanziaria - CSF).

As ch-aviation previously reported, in May 2022, three months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Italian government froze EUR146 million euros (USD154 million) in assets owned by SuperJet International, with the Italian financial police (Guardia di Finanza) saying at the time that this concerned only the 90% of assets held by the Russian JV partner. The 10% owned by Leonardo were not affected.

Incorporated in 2007, SuperJet International’s task was to provide international marketing, sales, and maintenance support to the Russian manufacturer. However, the only two customers in Europe and the Americas, CityJet and Interjet, retired their fleets of the type years ago as their operations were hobbled by a lack of spare parts and poor maintenance support. Currently, SSJ 100/95s operate only in Russia.

Initially, the JV was a 51/49 venture between Alenia Aermacchi (Brindisi) and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (Zhukovsky). Alenia Aermacchi later became Leonardo, which sold 41% of its stake in 2016. That 41% was acquired in summer 2022 by a former consultant to the JV, Italian lawyer Vittorio Guidotti, through his company Studio Guidotti International. Leonardo’s stake remains 10%. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, meanwhile, was absorbed into Irkut and became a part of UAC, which is in turn part of state-owned industrial holding Rostec.

SuperJet International CEO Camillo Perfido declared about the deal with Mark AB that “the interruption of industrial and commercial relations with UAC will allow the company to no longer be burdened by limitations resulting from the sanctioning regulations set by the European Union. SJI will once again demonstrate the excellent technical skills of its employees, who have managed to face a difficult period with integrity and a sense of responsibility.”

The “relaunch plan” was drawn up by SJI and Mark AB and foresees investments of EUR190 million (USD202 million), EUR110 million (USD117 million) of which will be at the Venice site, Perfido said.