Bloomberg News

Finmeccanica Says Board Member Probed for Italy Party Tie

May 16, 2012

Finmeccanica SpA (FNC) said a board member is under investigation for illicit political party funding and reiterated it’s extraneous to a bribery probe as la Repubblica reported Chairman Giuseppe Orsi will be stripped of some powers.

Franco Bonferroni, the board member being investigated in Rome, has denied any wrongdoing to magistrates, the Italian defense company said in an online document responding to a request of market regulator Consob. Finmeccanica said it sees “no risks or economic impact” from a corruption probe linked to an India helicopter contract.

The board plans to transfer some responsibility from Orsi, who is also chief executive officer, to Chief Operating Officer Alessandro Pansa, la Repubblica reported today, without saying where it got the information. Pansa will oversee acquisitions and strategy, while Orsi will remain in control of personnel and external relations, following the annual shareholders meeting today, the newspaper said.

A spokesman for Rome-based Finmeccanica declined to comment on the La Repubblica report.

CEO Orsi took over as chairman on Dec. 1 after Pier Francesco Guarguaglini stepped down amid a corruption probe involving company executives. Orsi is undertaking Finmeccanica’s biggest overhaul in at least a decade. The executive said April 26 that allegations that he acted improperly in connection with contracts the company obtained are “totally false.”

‘Adequate’ Systems

Finmeccanica said it’s stepping up internal controls, while a review found no issues as current checking mechanisms are “adequate.”

In addition to company executives, Finmeccanica’s Selex Sistemi Integrati SpA unit is also being probed over contracts with civil air-traffic manager Enav SpA, according to the document. The unit is being overhauled after Guarguaglini’s wife Marina Grossi left as division chief, Finmeccanica said.

Finmeccanica rose as much as 6.5 percent to 2.84 euros, the biggest intraday gain in three weeks, and was trading up 6.1 percent as of 1:39 p.m. in Milan. The stock’s 70 percent slide in the past 12 months has left the company with a market value of 1.64 billion euros.

To contact the reporters on this story: Marco Bertacche in Milan at mbertacche@bloomberg.net; Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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