Russian president signs decree creating state-controlled aircraft corporation |

Russian president signs decree creating state-controlled aircraft corporation

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to create an aircraft corporation, intending to pull the nations’ struggling manufacturers under one roof, the Kremlin announced Tuesday.The decree, posted on the presidential Web site, said the state would own no less than 75 percent of the corporation’s shares, while the government would have until April 1, 2007, to determine private shareholders’ stakes in the company.Russia has long spoken of the need for consolidation to reinvigorate an industry that in its Soviet heyday rolled out 700 aircraft a year and accounted for a quarter of the world’s civilian fleet.Today Russia’s civilian aircraft manufacturers produce a handful of planes a year and the industry employs less than a third of its original 1.5 million work force. There is little demand for Russia’s noisy, fuel-guzzling civilian aircraft and its three main fighter jet manufacturers – Sukhoi, MiG and Irkut – now account for around 90 percent of total sales.Speaking in June last year, Putin trumpeted the potential of national aircraft makers to become “one of the biggest participants on the world aviation technology market.”Under Putin, the state has moved to assert its role in the economy.In the auto sector, state managers have been drafted into the flagging auto giant Avtovaz while in the mining industry the state is working to accumulate a controlling stake in the nation’s diamond mining monopoly. Through a series of deals starting with the disputed auction of the Yukos oil company’s biggest production unit in December 2004, the state is presently in control of 30 percent of all oil production and acquired control of Gazprom, the world’s biggest gas producer, in September.

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