1948The "Società Finanziaria Meccanica Finmeccanica" was set up by the "Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale" (IRI) to manage State participation in the mechanical and ship-building industries which would be acquired by IRI during its first fifteen years of activity.
Early yearsFinmeccanica was given a clearly defined task and substantial resources to restructure important companies which would become the core of the mechanical industry for the next fifty years: Ansaldo, Alfa Romeo, San Giorgio, Sant'Eustachio, Navalmeccanica, Cantieri Navali dell'Adriatico.
Attention focused on sectors such as automobiles, ship building, railways and industrial machinery, with an eye on the emerging electronics sector.
The 1960sThe quest for a more competitive dimension and the general trend towards better structuring of the whole state participation system, led to a series of company transfers, mainly with EFIM, but also with other financial branches of IRI.
Against this background, Finmeccanica sold off the railway companies and the electronics firms (transferred to STET), and acquired several companies in the electro-mechanical sector.
The 1970sIn the early 1970s, Finmeccanica changed its organizational structure.
The Group acquired a sizable dimension with participation in several industrial sectors: automobiles (with Alfa Romeo, acquired in 1948), the thermo-electro-mechanical sector (with Ansaldo, a long-standing company founded in 1854) and the aerospace sector (with Aeritalia, set up 50/50 with FIAT in 1969).
1973: the energy crisisThe energy crisis forced Finmeccanica to review the policy it had been pursuing up until that time.
The new objectives were restructuring, internationalization, and achieving a competitive dimension.
Although these objectives were similar to those of the early 1950s, they now referred to a very different industrial scenario.
The 1980sDuring the early 1980s, Finmeccanica began to focus on the electro-mechanical and aerospace sectors, gradually consolidating its activities.
1987 marked the end of this restructuring phase which was essential to enable the Group to develop internationally. In 1989, IRI decided that Finmeccanica should re-acquire Selenia, Elsag and SGS, three companies specialized mainly in the electronics field, previously transferred to STET.
At this point, Finmeccanica's range of activities included civil systems, automated factories, command and control systems, missile systems, biomedical apparatus, robotics, microelectronic components, alongside the traditional sectors of energy, transport, industrial plant, and aerospace.
The 1990sIn 1990, Aeritalia and Selenia were merged to form Alenia, bringing together the activities of the two companies in the fields of aeronautics, defence electronics, missile systems and air traffic control.
At the same time, Elsag acquired Bailey thereby expanding its significant presence in the field of automated processes and services. In 1991, Ansaldo Energia was set up with the merger of Ansaldo GIE and Ansaldo Componenti, followed by the acquisition of Fabbrica Turbine and Caldaie Legnano.
Setting up Elsag Bailey Process Automation, together with subsequent acquisitions, enabled Finmeccanica to become the second largest group in the world for this sector. The acquisition of Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie led to the creation of an integrated railway group able to compete with leading European operators.
Finmeccanica began operating in the microelectronics sector in 1999 through a merger with MEI, an Italian company (equally shared with French State participation) which owned 22% of ST Microelectronics, a leading semiconductor firm.
1992: stock exchange launch1992 was a milestone in Finmeccanica's history since the Group's shares were listed on the stock exchange, under its new name Finmeccanica S.p.A. (Società per Azioni), through a merger with its subsidiary SIFA.
2000 – 2004In 2000, the state-ownership stake in Finmeccanica decreased with the offer on the Stock Exchange of almost all of IRI shares, for a value of more than €5 billion. Today, the Italian Ministry of the Economy holds approximately one third of the shares and the remaining part is in the market.
The business lines, first organized as divisions, were grouped into operating companies, homogeneous and coherent with the international development strategy, leaving Finmeccanica the functions of strategic and industrial guidance and control. Alenia Spazio and Agusta were established in 2000, Galileo Avionica and Oto Melara in 2001 and Alenia Aeronautica in 2002.
In the transport sector, in 2001, AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo Trasporti Sistemi Ferroviari were established. In 2002, Marconi Mobile (today SELEX Communications), OTE and Telespazio were acquired, leading companies in the sectors of defence communications, radio systems for professional users and satellite systems and services.
In the Aerospace and Defence sector, Finmeccanica strengthened its role as the main Italian manufacturer and among the largest in Europe with the acquisition of Aermacchi and 30% Fiat Avio (today Avio Group, with the remaining part owned by The Carlyle Group).
Italy and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Italian participation in the industrial programme for the new generation fighter aircraft, the Joint Strike Fighter. Finmeccanica takes part in the design, development and production of components for the new aircraft with its companies Alenia Aeronautica, Galileo Avionica, SELEX Communications and Elsag.
In early 2003, Alenia Aeronautica was awarded a contract for 12 new generation C-27J tactical cargo aircraft, produced in collaboration with the North American company Lockheed Martin, ordered by the Greek Air Force.
Still in the aeronautics sector, Boeing and Finmeccanica signed a collaboration agreement for the 7E7 Dreamliner programme, the most advanced in the civil aviation field.
In the radio communications sector, SELEX Communications acquired MMA (Marconi Mobile Access), a center of excellence for the development of technologies and applications for mobile radio communications networks.
2004 – 2008From 2004 to 2008, Finmeccanica continued with coherence and success along the path of progressive internationalization, unceasing innovation and integration of its own competences to offer increasingly more advanced solutions to the market.
Thanks to the agreement completed in 2005 with BAE Systems, the Group acquired important technological and production assets in the UK and reconfigured its entire Defence and Security Electronics sector. This is how the “SELEX family” was started, a name which evokes the historic one of Selenia, the company which started Finmeccanica’s adventure in radar and electronics 40 years ago. The "SELEX" companies currently include SELEX Sistemi Integrati, SELEX Galileo, SELEX Communications and SELEX Service Management, with its subsidiary Seicos. Later, the Defence and Security Electronics sector would be further strengthened with the acquisition of the Italian company Datamat, merged into the new asset Elsag Datamat, and the British company Vega. With the whole of these companies, Finmeccanica became part of a narrow list of international players in integrated systems and laid the basis for its subsequent growth in the American market.
The year 2005 was also the year of the Space Alliance, thanks to which Finmeccanica became the leading European company in the space industry. With Alcatel, which became a part of Thales in 2007, the Group formed two joint ventures, today called Thales Alenia Space (manufacturing activity) and Telespazio (satellite services). These two companies play a primary role in all the main international space programmes: GMES for the environment; Galileo and EGNOS for satellite navigation: COSMO-SkyMed, Syracuse, Sicral among others for Earth observation for civil and defence purposes. In addition, it takes part in scientific and exploration projects of the caliber of GOCE, Herschel & Planck and ExoMars.
Still in 2005, Ansaldo STS was established, into which all the Group’s railway signaling business was transferred. Immediately afterwards, 60% of the company was placed on the Stock Exchange.
In the same year, Alenia Aeronautica began working with Boeing for the B787 Dreamliner, the most advanced programme in the civil aviation field. The following year, another agreement was signed with the Russian company Sukhoi Civil Aircraft for the development of the Superjet 100, a new family of regional aircraft.
In 2007, thanks to the C-27J, the Group was awarded, in a team with L-3 and Boeing, the extremely important job order for the modernization of the US Army and Air Force cargo aircraft fleet, in the context of the Joint Cargo Aircraft programme. This was a further step forward in Finmeccanica’s confirmation in the competitive American market, that would reach its pinnacle during the following year.
On 22 October 2008, Finmeccanica in fact completed the acquisition of 100% of the American group DRS Technologies, leader in the supply of products and services for Defence and Security Electronics. It was the largest acquisition ever carried out by a European company in the American Defence industries sector and represents the coronation of Finmeccanica’s long journey towards growth.
The entrance of DRS not only allowed the Group to establish a stable and important positioning in the USA market, otherwise difficult to get into, but it also allowed it to develop a wide range of technological and productive synergies, that strengthen it even more in the sectors of large integrated systems, based on complex architecture and network-centric approaches, as well as in the production of avionics and electro-optical equipment and systems, land and sea command and control systems, air traffic control systems, integrated communications systems and networks, private mobile radio communication systems and services with added value in the Information Technology field.
TodayWhile the entrance of DRS Technologies was a fundamental event in the life of the Group, there are other international success stories achieved by Finmeccanica in more recent years and months, even in a difficult world economic climate.
These include the following:
In the United Arab Emirates, in Abu Dhabi, Finmeccanica and Mubadala Development Company signed an industrial partnership agreement in various leading areas (aeronautics and composite materials). On 25 February 2009, the Emirates Government announced that it had begun the negotiating phase for the purchase of 48 Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced training aircraft.
In Russia, AgustaWestland and Oboronprom Corporation launched a long-term collaboration in the civil helicopter field and formed a 50-50 joint venture for the building of an AW139 civil helicopter assembly line. Still in Russia, in April 2009, SELEX Sistemi Integrati – today Selex ES - and the companies Scartel and Russian Electronics OJSCo, under the control of the state group Russian Technologies, reached an agreement for the future establishment of a consortium that will have the task of designing and building security management systems for large events and the protection of critical infrastructures.
Getting back to the Helicopter field, in February 2009, AgustaWestland and Tata Sons – a large industrial group working in IT, engineering, materials, services and energy- signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a joint venture in India.
On 18 August 2009, AgustaWestland also signed a contract for the purchase of 87.61% of the capital stock of PZL - Swidnik, a Polish company that produces helicopters and aerostructures. In this way, once this acquisition is finalized, Poland will become-together with Italy, the UK and the US- a new Finmeccanica “domestic” market.
Still in 2009, Finmeccanica, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP) signed an agreement for the development of strategic cooperation activities in Libya and other countries in the Middle East and Africa. On the basis of this agreement, investment opportunities will be pursued in the aerospace, electronics, transport and commercial and civil energy applications sectors.
In 2011, Alenia Aeronautica and Aermacchi merged to create AleniaAermacchi, a company that brings together all of Finmeccanica’s aeronautical activities.
In 2012, SELEX Sistemi Integrati, SELEX Galileo and SELEX Elsag (itself the result of the merger between ElsagDatamat and Selex Communications) merged into SELEX ES, forming a company of ca. 17,900 employees, an international leader in electronic and information technologies for defense systems, aerospace, data, infrastructures, land security and protection, as well as in the realization of sustainable “smart” solutions.
The current strategy of the Group has, therefore, led to the concentration of activities in the core business, where each pillar is overseen by a single company (AgustaWestland for helicopters, Alenia Aermacchi for aeronautics, Selex ES for defense and security electronics).
In summary, Finmeccanica today is truly a multi-domestic and multicultural group, with 68.000 employees, and it has demonstrated the capacity to affirm itself as a dynamic and innovative company that works for the benefit of security, defence, mobility and the quality of life for all and that it knows how to create value.