May 31, 2016 / 2:37 AM / 3 years ago

Finmeccanica to reconsider business in India if blacklisted

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian defence company Leonardo Finmeccanica has threatened to reassess its business in India, a few days after New Delhi said it would blacklist the company over the alleged payment of bribes to win a large helicopter contract.

The new Finmeccanica's logo, Leonardo, is seen on a screen during a meeting of shareholders in Rome, Italy, April 24, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/Files

Former executives of the state-controlled conglomerate were found guilty last month after being tried in Italy on corruption charges relating to a 560 million euro ($624 million) contract in 2010 to supply a dozen helicopters to the Indian government.

Finmeccanica has distanced itself from the allegations, saying the case is against the individuals rather than the company, but India’s defence minister said the company would be banned from future government tenders.

Manohar Parrikar made the comments after India’s top court allowed an Italian marine accused of murdering two fishermen to be freed and flown back to Italy in another case that has soured relations between the two countries.

Responding to the minister’s comments, Finmeccanica issued a statement saying that its business in India is “very marginal”.

“The Company hopes that an agreed and transparent solution is found as soon as possible to shed light on current initiatives and future business opportunities,” it said.

“Should this not be the case, the company will not refrain from assessing the situation given the limited size of ongoing business in the country.”

Since his appointment in May 2014, Finmeccanica CEO Mauro Moretti has worked to improve the company’s reputation and streamline the organisation to increase transparency.

In its statement on Monday the defence group stuck to its previous full-year guidance of 20 billion euros in orders and core profit of 1.22 billion euros to 1.27 billion euros, saying that new Indian orders have not been included in its budget forecasts over the past few years.

($1 = 0.8980 euros)

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Stephen Jewkes and David Goodman

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