Italy's Piaggio Aerospace signs 50 mln euro engine contract

MILAN, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The temporary administrator of Piaggio Aerospace signed on Wednesday a contract worth 50 million euros ($55 million) with Italy’s defence ministry, the troubled company said in a statement.

Under the nine-year agreement, the company will provide technical and logistic support to the engine which powers the Chinook helicopters, currently used by the Italian Army.

Last year Piaggio Aerospace sought protection from creditors after the company, a unit of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund Mubadala, went into bankruptcy and lost its sole customer.

When further contracts are signed, “which is now imminent, we will be closer to returning the company to full operations,” Administrator Vincenzo Nicastro said in the statement.

The contract signed on Wednesday lifted Piaggio Aerospace’s order portfolio to more than 300 million euros and the total should reach more than 800 million euros with new contracts to be signed shortly, the company said. ($1 = 0.9073 euros) (Reporting by Sabina Suzzi Editing by Alexandra Hudson)