(Adds details, comments)
MILAN Aug 20 Italy's AgustaWestland is still
negotiating an order with the Russian government for its AW139
helicopters, a spokesman said after speculation about the order
falling through hit the shares of parent company Finmeccanica
"The order is still under negotiation," said Roberto
Caprarella, a spokesman for AgustaWestland.
Earlier on Tuesday Russian news agency Itar-Tass had
reported that Moscow would only consider buying 35 helicopters
from AgustaWestland if the price came down.
"It's a very expensive machine. If they cut the price, then
we can return to the issue," the agency quoted Russia's Deputy
Defence Minister Yuri Borisov as saying.
The Russian Defence Ministry declined immediate comment.
Shares in Italian defence group Finmeccanica fell to an
11-day low on the Russian news report, and closed down 5.22
percent at 3.96 euros, underperforming a 1.41 percent fall in
Italy's blue-chip FTSE MIB index.
Analysts suggested an order of 35 helicopters of that model
could be worth around 500 million euros ($671 million).
But AgustaWestland's Caprarella said the value depended on
various factors beyond the model, including equipment included
in the aircraft and order-specific modifications that could
significantly sway the final price.
The company has already sold around 730 of the AW139
helicopters around the world, he added.
Besides its manufacturing plants in Italy and the United
States, AgustaWestland has also set up an assembly line plant in
Russia to produce the AW139 for the market there and in the
former Soviet republics.
The Russian plant is run by HeliVert, AgustaWestland's joint
venture with state-controlled group Russian Helicopters.
Finmeccanica faces other problems over AgustaWestland.
India's federal auditor said last week it had found
irregularities in the Indian government's award of a 560 million
euros luxury helicopter deal to AgustaWestland.
"It's just another piece of bad news," a Milan-based trader
($1 = 0.7448 euros)
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Elisa Anzolin in Milan and
Thomas Grove and Steve Gutterman in Moscow; Writing by Agnieszka