Italian state steps in to stop Chinese state-owned companies’ covert acquisition of Italian drone maker

On March 10, 2022, the Italian government annulled the sale of military drones company Alpi Aviation to Chinese investors. In September 2021, the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian financial crimes police, had placed six managers of the drones manufacturer under investigation over the planned sale of their company to two Chinese state-owned enterprises. The BBC reports that Alpi Aviation produces military grade drones for NATO. The six managers oversaw the sale of 75% of the shares in Alpi Aviation to a Hong Kong-based firm that acted as a front for a complex web of corporations that ultimately led to the Management Committee of Wuxi Liyuan Economic Development Zone and to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), the body responsible for managing Chinese state-owned enterprises. The sale was in breach of Italian investment screening and arms control legislation. Following the sale, Alpi Aviation had plans to move its drone production to a technology hub in Wuxi, 135km west of Shanghai.

About This Incident

Threat Actors: China

Incident Metadata

Date: 2018 - September 2021
Country: Italy