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China quietly took management of Italian army drone maker, WSJ says

Troopers of the Individuals’s Liberation Military honor guard carry out the flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Sq. on New Yr’s Day on January 1, 2021 in Beijing, China.

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Two Chinese language state corporations took management of an Italian army drone maker greater than three years in the past by way of an offshore firm — with out the information of authorities in Italy and Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.  

The offshore firm, Mars (HK) Data Know-how, began the method of transferring Alpi’s technical and mental property to a brand new manufacturing web site in China, the report stated.

Mars had in July 2018 purchased a 75% stake in Italian drone maker Alpi Aviation for 4 million euros, or $4.6 million, the Journal reported. Mars additionally invested one other 1.5 million euros in Alpi — an quantity Italian police stated was a big overpayment, in line with the report.

Italian authorities are investigating the 2018 deal, together with whether or not Alpi ought to have notified the Italian authorities of the stake sale, in addition to whether or not Alpi had transferred expertise and began manufacturing in China, in line with the report.

Police concluded that Mars was a shell firm linked to 2 Chinese language state-controlled corporations, the Journal stated.

Learn extra about China from CNBC Professional

Mars was registered in Hong Kong simply two months earlier than the Alpi deal, in line with the report. It added that police traced Mars’ possession of Alpi to China Railway Rolling Inventory Corp or CRRC — a big Chinese language state-owned rail firm — and an funding group managed by the Wuxi municipal authorities.

Wuxi is a metropolis close to Shanghai. A Reuters report in September identified the investment group as China Corporate United Investment Holding.

Alpi had equipped drones utilized by the Italian Air Pressure in Afghanistan, the report stated.

As of publication, Alpi and CRRC didn’t reply to CNBC’s request for touch upon the report. Mars and the Wuxi funding group couldn’t be reached for remark.

The Journal, quoting a press release from Alpi, stated the Italian drone maker denied it had damaged legal guidelines on transferring strategic info and expertise out of Italy. The corporate additionally stated its stake sale was clear and made at actual worth.

European firms are usually required to report related overseas takeovers to authorities, reminiscent of when the offers contain safety, in line with the Journal’s report.

The Italian authorities has the precise to veto takeovers by non-EU patrons in industries deemed strategic reminiscent of protection and communications, the report stated.

For more on the investigation into Alpi Aviation, read the full story on the Wall Street Journal.

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