Russia to withdraw from Sukhoi Superjet 100 program (at least on paper)
United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the Russian state aerospace company, will withdraw from the Sukhoi Superjet 100 program. Officially, the decision was made following an investment by a foreign capital firm based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In reality, according to Superjet International, a former subsidiary of UAC, announced that Markab Capital acquired 49% of the shares of the Russian company. As a result of this transaction, UAC will exit the Superjet program and automatically exit the Sukhoi Superjet 100 project.
SuperJet International was established in 2007 as an independent company to market, sell and maintain the Sukhoi Superjet 100 in Western markets. At the beginning, the Italian company had two shareholders, namely Sukhoi (51% of the shares) and the Italian-based aerospace company Leonardo (49%). In 2016, Leonardo reduced its stake to 10%, giving the majority of shares to the Russian company, which in 2022 was merged into UAC.
However, with Russia invading Ukraine in February 2022 and subsequent sanctions imposed on the country, Italy's Guardia di Finanza (GdF) has frozen SuperJet International's assets linked to the 90% stake held by UAC. GdF has frozen about 150 million euros ($159,2 million) in assets, including five planes.
Going forward, Markab Capital will hold a 49% stake in SuperJet International, while Italian law firm Studio Guidotti International will hold a 41% stake. Leonardo will retain its 10% stake.
The acquisition and shareholding reform are pending regulatory approvals from Italian and Russian regulators, which would unlock SuperJet International's assets.
Relaunch of the Superjet 100 program
With new shareholders willing to inject capital into the program, the Italian company is looking to relaunch the Superjet 100 program with a focus on the UAE and Indian markets.
In total, Markab Capital will invest 190 million euros ($202,4 million), of which 110 million euros ($117,1 million) will go to the Venetian company. "Such investment will make it possible to support the development of new aircraft configurations, the construction of the new SJI branch in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as the development of the aircraft to address the competition in the market”, said SuperJet International.
SuperJet International predicts it will be able to sell 240 planes in three different versions: passenger, VIP and cargo, focusing on the UAE and India markets. The Superjet 100 program will be based in Venice and the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi to be exact.
Unfortunately for the Sukhoi Superjet 100, this aircraft model did not enjoy international success. Most of the delivered planes went to companies in Russia or in countries that were part of the former USSR.