June 11, 2020 / 5:45 PM / a month ago

Czech-Hungarian joint venture buys military jet maker Aero Vodochody

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech defence and security group Omnipol said on Thursday it had acquired domestic aircraft maker Aero Vodochody Aerospace in a joint venture with Hungarian businessman and former chief security adviser Andras Tombor.

Aero Vodochody produces aircraft for military training and light combat, including its own L-39 and new L-39NG designs. Before the coronavirus outbreak hit, it had aimed to double its revenue to as much as 6 billion crowns ($256 million) this year.

Omnipol said in February it was in talks to buy the company.

Under the terms of the deal, the Omnipol-Tombor joint venture will buy the company in its entirety from Czech-Slovak group Penta Investments, which acquired Aero Vodochody in 2006 and will retain an airport at its main facility.

Tombor, former chief security adviser to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, will hold 51% of the joint venture. Omnipol will manage Aero Vodochody.

No financial details were given.

“We want to build on the tradition of the company and restore its reputation on the Czech and world markets,” Omnipol owner Richard Hava said.

Omnipol had already been a strategic partner with Aero Vodochody in its new-generation L-39 plane project.

Reporting by Jason Hovet and Jan Lopatka; Additional reporting by Marton Dunai in Budapest; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Jan Harvey

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