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  • Trading Places
    Posted by William Garvey 3:22 PM on May 17, 2011

    In speaking this morning with Eligio Trombetta, Piaggio Aero’s general manager, I learned that the company is nearing a final design decision on its long-mentioned jet project, and is planning to shutter its main manufacturing plant in Finale, Italy, after building a new one at Villanova d’Albenga.

    When I remarked that two such projects would be financially taxing for the company’s three main shareholders, the fast-talking executive explained that the jet project would take years more than the new plant construction. And besides, he said, the sale of the century-old facility would pay for the new one.

    How could that possibly be?

    When Piaggio began building airplanes many decades ago, they all used waterways as their runways, and the company grew famous for those amphibious aircraft. Naturally, the factory had to be near the water, and it is.

    Rather than grass, the Finale plant has sand out back. Lots of it. Its beachfront property on the Ligurian Sea. Quite rightly that strand is known as the Italian Riviera since it’s just 20 kilometers east of Nice. The developer who’s buying it – and building Piaggio’s new factory in exchange – can’t wait to bulldoze the place and start building condos.

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    Tags: eb11, ba99

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