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Airbus CEO refutes ‘misleading allegations’ over helicopter tender

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 11.10.2016 13:04
The CEO of Airbus Helicopters has written an open letter to the Polish prime minister, refuting “misleading allegations” in the Polish media about the tender which was scrapped by the Polish government.
A Caracal helicopter. Photo: Wikimedia CommonsA Caracal helicopter. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In a letter released on Tuesday, Guillaume Faury, the CEO of Airbus Helicopters, wrote that the decision to break off the “offset negotiation process was made unilaterally by the Polish Ministry of Development on 4 October”.

“It is our belief that Polish citizens and the Polish armed forces deserve full transparency on the tender process in which Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Group have been fully committed over the last four years,” the letter read.

The letter said that “four days before the Ministry of Development’s decision, Airbus Helicopters accepted to extend the validity of its offer at the request of the Ministry of Defence until 30 November. In spite of a slow negotiation process initiated with the Ministry of Development in September 2015, Airbus Helicopters has remained fully committed to finding an agreement with Poland”.

The letter listed some of the details of the offset negotiations, including Airbus Group’s “ambition to create 6,000 jobs in Poland.”

It added that the Airbus Helicopters project “would have led to the creation of 3,800 jobs, including 1,250 direct employments mainly in Łódź, Radom and Dęblin”.

The French company said that as part of its offset negotiations, it had also agreed to compensate Poland the gross value of the tender – PLN 13.4 bln (EUR 3.2 bln).

“Although compensation of a value added tax through offset is not standard practice, Airbus Helicopters agreed to compensate this gross value,” the letter read.

Airbus tender negotiations 'pointless'

Announcing the breaking off of the negotiations last week, the Development Ministry said: “Differences in the negotiating stances of both sides prevented us from arriving at a compromise, as a result of which conducting further talks is now pointless.”

The previous Civic Platform-led government chose to purchase 50 ‘Eurocopter’ EC725 helicopters from Airbus in April 2015, rejecting rival offers from PZL Mielec and PZL Świdnik.

The decision to purchase from a French firm was met with domestic criticism at the time. The Law and Justice government indicated that it might cancel the deal after winning elections in October 2015.

The Development Ministry defended its approach. “During a year-long negotiation, the Polish side was open minded and ready to work on potential solutions which could be accepted by both sides.” (rg)

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