Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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1948 Company formed to support and relaunch a large number of Italian companies. Companies in the group included:

1950s Finmeccanica concentrated on the restructuring of shipbuilding

1959 Shipbuilding was sold off and annexed to a new company, Fincantieri.

1960s The Group concentrated on sectors with an emphasis on technology. In addition to managing the existing businesses, it began to create new ones, such as Selenia, which was established in 1960 to operate in the radar sector.

The mechanical companies were transferred to EFIM and the electronics ones to STET

Finmeccanica focused on the automotive, thermoelectric and aerospace sectors

1969 In a joint venture with FIAT, undertook the ambitious project of creating a large company with a leading role in aeronautics and space, Aeritalia. (FIAT left in 1976).

Between 1974 and 1987, Finmeccanica sold several companies, concentrating on the electro-mechanical and aerospace sector.

1986 Divestiture of Alfa Romeo to FIAT.

Ansaldo was focused on leveraging the rail sector with the creation of Ansaldo Trasporti.

1989 The electronics companies that had been transferred to STET (Selenia, SGS Thomson and Elettronica San Giorgio - Elsag) returned to Finmeccanica.

Merger of Aeritalia and Selenia to form Alenia. A large industrial complex operating in aeronautics, space, electronic systems, telecommunications, radar, missiles, air traffic control, electro-optical and electronic warfare systems, and naval systems.

c.1990 Ansaldo Energia was set up.

1990s: the liberalisation of the markets led Finmeccanica to rethink its strategies.

1994-6 Finmeccanica acquired a group of companies operating in the defence sector from EFIM, including Agusta (helicopters), Breda Meccanica Bresciana (naval and terrestrial artillery), Officine Galileo (electro-optical systems), OTO Melara (land and naval armaments).

Acquired a number of British companies which became SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems

This meant that 70 percent of Italy’s national aerospace and defence industries was concentrated in the Finmeccanica Group.

Finmeccanica also started making agreements and acquisitions at the international level:

  • Joint venture AgustaWestland (helicopters), with GKN,
  • Agreements and acquisitions in space (Telespazio), in aeronautics (Aermacchi), in electronics (Marconi Mobile), in underwater (WASS) and in missiles (MBDA).

By the beginning of the 2000s, Finmeccanica had acquired a solid international profile, with four domestic markets (Italy, United Kingdom, United States and Poland) and consolidated partnerships worldwide, progressively concentrating on its core business of Aerospace, Defence and Security.

  • In helicopters, it was a global player, after the full acquisition of the joint venture AgustaWestland from GKN.
  • Defence electronics underwent a further rationalisation by merging the SELEX family under the new name of Selex ES.
  • In aeronautics, all the Group industrial capabilities were concentrated under the new Alenia Aermacchi brand.
  • In space, with the complementary expertise of Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space, Finmeccanica was a qualified presence in the most important international space programmes.
  • In defence systems, thanks to OTO Melara and WASS, Finmeccanica had excellent products sold to Armed Forces worldwide

2009 As a result of the global financial crisis, the traditional aerospace and defence markets were affected. Finmeccanica started new partnerships in emerging markets and implemented actions to recover profitability and rationalise its industrial presence, including divestment of Ansaldo Energia and Ansaldo Trasporti.

2016 Finmeccanica was renamed Leonardo, in honour of Leonardo da Vinci.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Leonardo Story