City & Corporate: College Hill appointed to Finmechanica account

Finmechanica, the group behind the world's biggest helicopter maker, Agusta Westland, has hired College Hill as it prepares to play a major part in the consolidation of the industry in Europe.

College Hill becomes Finmechanica's first retained corporate and financial communications agency. The company has indicated interest in future mergers and acquisitions in the aerospace and defence sectors.

College Hill director Nick Potter is leading the account, which is believed to be worth around £120,000 a year. He reports to Finmechanica head of investor relations John Stewart.

Finmechanica is based in the UK, Italy and the US. Agusta Westland's Future Lynx helicopter was recently chosen as the Ministry of Defence's preferred option for land reconnaissance and maritime surface-attack roles - a deal worth about £1bn.

Finmechanica, which employs around 10,000 people in the UK, bought BAE Systems' Military Avionics division in February. The operation has a £2bn contract to supply attack, navigation and display systems for the Eurofighter combat aircraft.

In its annual results at the beginning of this month, Finmechanica announced an 8.6 per cent rise in revenue from £5.9m in 2003 to £6.4m in 2004.

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