Connect with us

Business

Exclusive-Italy opens new probe into Boeing 787 parts supplier MPS -sources

Published

on

November 5, 2021

By Francesca Landini

BRINDISI (Reuters) – Prosecutors in southern Italy have opened an investigation into the supply of parts to Boeing by Manufacturing Process Specification (MPS), a company at the centre of latest snags on the 787 Dreamliner, three people familiar with the matter said.

According to two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation and another briefed on the probe, the move aims to verify whether components were flawed and could pose safety risks – a prospect denied by Boeing and MPS’ lawyer.

Advertisement

It is the second probe involving Brindisi-based MPS, which is already under court administration amid an ongoing investigation into the bankruptcy of a predecessor company, and follows the intervention of an anonymous whistleblower, the sources said.

Last month, Boeing said some titanium 787 Dreamliner parts provided by MPS via Italian group Leonardo had been improperly manufactured over the past three years.

It said the issue – one of several production-related problems that have plagued the wide-body jetliner – does not affect the immediate safety of flights.

The issues facing MPS highlight aerospace’s reliance on a dispersed and sometimes fragile global supply chain.

CONTROL CHAIN

Advertisement

MPS’s role was until recently to provide small titanium parts and coat components with chemicals to make them smooth and resistant. The company, which employs less than 40 workers, has also been a supplier to several other aerospace companies.

“Prosecutors are checking the chain of controls over quality to understand why the issue (with MPS’ components) was unveiled only recently,” one of the sources told Reuters.

A court-appointed administrator for MPS did not reply to an email requesting comment.

A lawyer for MPS’s owner, Italian entrepreneur Antonio Ingrosso, and for the company denied any safety issue.

“These are non-sensitive parts as far as aircraft safety is concerned and have been widely controlled by MPS’ clients,” Francesca Conte told Reuters.

Advertisement

“We will demonstrate at the appropriate time that it is unfounded to speak of technical flaws in the components supplied by MPS,” she added.

Boeing declined comment on the probe, which could last for several months.

“Boeing and Leonardo are victims of potential misbehaviour by the sub-supplier… we are cooperating with authorities and we don’t have indications to provide so far,” Leonardo’s General Manager Valerio Cioffi said during a results presentation on Friday.

Last month Leonardo said it was an injured party and would not bear any potential costs associated with the issue, adding that MPS was no longer a supplier. Boeing has also dropped MPS from its sub-suppliers’ list.

Flanked by palm trees in an industrial area of Brindisi, the gates of MPS’s headquarters were closed and a Reuters reporter saw no sign of activity at its two plants on a recent visit.

Advertisement

The latest investigation comes as Brindisi prosecutors near completion of an earlier probe into the bankruptcy of MPS’ predecessor company Processi Speciali, the sources said.

The company rented its assets to MPS before going bankrupt in 2018, they added.

In May, Ingrosso was initially detained and then placed under house arrest as part of the bankruptcy probe. Ingrosso, who has since been released, did not respond directly to a request for comment. His lawyer denied he had a key role in the bankruptcy of Processi Speciali, adding Ingrosso tried to save the company when it encountered financial difficulties.

Former employees of the company have hit back at the claims, saying the company has been unfairly targeted.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by Tim Hepher and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Business

Canada’s Shopify records Black Friday sales up 21%

Published

on

November 27, 2021

(Reuters) – Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc recorded worldwide sales of nearly $2.9 billion on Black Friday, an increase of about 21% in comparison to last year, the company said Saturday.

New York, London and Los Angeles were among the top-selling cities, the company said, while apparel and accessories was the top-selling product category.

Shopify also said it funded 23,000+ tonnes of carbon removal to counteract emissions from the delivery of every order placed on its platform on Black Friday.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Continue Reading

Business

Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles – Beijing govt

Published

on

November 27, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

Advertisement

In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by William Mallard)

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Business

Eni sells Snam 49.9% stake in Algeria gas pipelines for 385 million euros

Published

on

November 27, 2021

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian energy group Eni has agreed to sell gas group Snam 49.9% of its stake in strategic pipelines carrying Algerian gas into Italy for 385 million euros ($436 million), the two companies said on Saturday.

The pipelines will be jointly controlled by the two companies, they said in a joint statement.

Italy imports more than 90% of its overall gas needs and Algerian gas currently accounts for around 30% of flows.

Advertisement

“This transaction allows us to free up new resources to be used on our energy transition path,” Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said.

Eni is working on spinning off a series of oil and gas operations into new joint ventures to help reduce debt and fund its shift to low-carbon energy.

Snam, which owns a 20% stake in the TAP pipeline that carries Azeri gas into Italy, makes most of its money from managing Italy’s gas transport grid.

It has pledged to spend more on new green business lines such as hydrogen and, like other gas grid operators in Europe, is upgrading its gas network to be hydrogen ready.

“In the future, North Africa could also become a hub for producing solar energy and green hydrogen,” Snam CEO Marco Alvera said.

Advertisement

The pipeline companies involved in the deal posted net income of around 90 million euros in 2020.

($1 = 0.8836 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Giselda Vagnoni)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending