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Tue, Nov 22, 2005

Bell Helicopter Sells Interest In AB139 Joint Venture

AgustaWestland Gets Program, Added Stake In BA609 Tiltrotor

Bell Helicopter and European rotorcraft manufacturer AgustaWestland announced Monday a realignment of their joint venture Bell Agusta Aerospace Company LLC (BAAC). Effective upon regulatory and other necessary approvals, Bell is selling its 25 percent interest in the AB139 medium twin helicopter program (right) to AgustaWestland.

Under the buyout, AgustaWestland will assume 100 percent ownership of all aspects of the AB139 program going forward. In return for its 25 percent interest, Bell will receive payments to reflect its value in the program.

Specific terms of the transaction were not undisclosed.

In addition, the realignment also gives AgustaWestland added economic interests in the BA609 civil tiltrotor aircraft (below), from the original 25 percent to a maximum of 40 percent by allowing increased investment during the civilian tiltrotor's development phase.

"Consolidating ownership of the AB139 will provide a single face to the customer, leading to increased sales and greater customer satisfaction related to follow-on support services," said AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi.

Bell Helicopter CEO Michael Redenbaugh added, "Bell and Agusta have been partners on numerous programs since 1952, and indeed this partnership continues today on the BA609. In addition, we remain partnered on other exciting programs such as the 412 helicopter and the U.S. Presidential fleet of US101s."

FMI: www.bellagusta.com

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