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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Leonardo: Alessandro Profumo is surrounded

He's focusing on hi-tech but Leonardo stock is at its lowest in five years, € 4 per share

The tsar is surrounded. Not only the voices for the resignation of Alessandro Profumo as CEO of Leonardo are increasing, even the stock market share seems not to comfort him. Does that market to which he always shows great deference turn his back? It seems so, just looking at the trend of the last two days: on October 29 it lost 4.3%, making it worse than the market (FtseMib closed at -4.06%), on October 30 it lost another 1.1%, recovering something (3.7%) in the session of Monday November 2nd. On the stock market it has been bad for some time: since the beginning of 2020 the stock lost more than 50%. To be picky, it is since the beginning of Profumo's ride in Leonardo that it is not good on the market: he took office in May 2017, with a title at almost 16 euros (15.9 euros in June) after three and a half years, that is now, October 30, he finds himself with shares at 4.2 euros. It seems, however, that no one wants to address the issue, which by its magnitude is certainly not attributable only to the pandemic. And if, at the end of September Banca Akros and Equita sim (former of Profumo, of which he was president just over a year, from January 2016 to spring 2017) were definitely bullish on Leonardo shares, looking forward to seeing their price below 5 euros, one wonders what they will recommend now that the price is just over 4 euros, at the lowest of the last five years. Meanwhile, the board of directors of 5 November is approaching and, it seems, the confidence around Profumo is decreasing more and more. The rumors of those who would like him to resign seem to be multiplying: first of all Giuseppe Bivona (Bluebell Partners), who sent a letter to the ad with the subject: request for resignation of CEO Profumo immediately after the approval of the results as of September 30, 2020 on November 5 ". Last week another tile: the board of Mps decided to send a letter to Profumo and to the former CEO of the bank, Fabrizio Viola, to stop the prescription of any compensation action that the bank reserves to initiate against them. Returning to the performance of the Stock Exchange, on the blog of Gianni Dragoni (Sole 24 Ore), Powers weak, on October 28 there is an incipit that makes you shiver. “Less than 59.64% in the last year. Minus 30.85% in the last six months. Minus 14.74% in the last month ”writes Dragoni , reporting the trend of Leonardo stock, constantly in a dive. "At these prices -Dragoni writes it- the entire capital of Finmeccanica-Leonardo is worth 2 billion and 460 million euros: the share of the Ministry of Economy, the controlling shareholder who owns 30.2%, is therefore worth just 743 millions". A vertical collapse which, Dragoni recalls, led Copasir, the parliamentary committee for safety chaired by Lega deputy Raffaele Volpi, to “focus its attention on issues relating to the Leonardo company, considered it of national strategic interest. This focus will be aimed at identifying whether and which improper or speculative actions affect this national champion”, announced President Volpi. Although it has not been clearly stated, in addition to the current economic crisis, also favored by the effects of the pandemic on a global level, the uncertainty resulting from the first-degree condemnation of CEO Profumo could have influenced the decision of Copasir. six years of imprisonment and a € 2.5 million fine for manipulation and false corporate communications for the accounting of Banca Mps derivatives in the financial statements (stipulated by its predecessors and presented in the accounts as BTPs, i.e. government bonds that are safer than derivatives) when he was president of the bank of Siena, between 2012 and 2015. Perhaps this will not be the mark of Profumo's career, but it is certainly legitimate to ask some doubts.

One who in this sense is very close to his breath is Luigi Vitali, number two of the Senate Constitutional Affairs Commission: last February he presented a question on the Leonardo helicopter order in Qatar: in 2018 the group led by Profumo, to win an order worth 1.2 billion dollars and selling 28 helicopters to the Emirate would have granted over 100 million free benefits, such as 19 free aircraft and a taxi service from the skies for the ultra-VIPs of Qatar. Also in February 2020 Vitali declared: “I read from the press that the current CEO of Leonardo SpA, the banker Alessandro Profumo, is among the 16 people indicted by the Bari GUP for the Divania crash. But how are the top public managers chosen? Only 15 days ago I submitted to the Senate a question signed by me for the first time addressed to the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Economy and Finance so that the situation that was not crystal clear regarding the behavior of Leonardo's managers was verified and to find out if the canons of transparency, fairness and ethics. Nothing more current. Journalistic sources report that Profumo is involved in the process in his capacity as former CEO of Unicredit, as according to the accusatory hypothesis, he would have carried out a colossal scam against what was one of the most solid Apulian business groups, based in Modugno. The alleged offense is bankruptcy".

That of the Divania crash is just one of the pieces that make up the puzzle of his guide in Unicredit. Hypoveraisbank and the banks of Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, with minorities in Germany, Russia and Austria are the other pieces that, in the end, weighed on the institution. Also including the controversial entry into the capital of Central Bank of Libya and Lybian Authority Investment, an initiative that marked the beginning of the internal war, which ended with the exit of Profumo with a severance pay of 40 million euros. With a part of the liquidation, it is reported, Profumo puts his hand to Equita sim (former Euromobiliare), a sim that intermediates shares, of which he buys the majority by taking over 50% JCFlowers and co. In short, Profumo between indictments, personal convictions and, last but not least, the critical trend of the stock on the stock market which certainly, due to its size, cannot only be a consequence of the effects of the pandemic, is succeeding, despite himself, in the arduous undertaking making Leonardo less attractive and smaller, therefore more attractive, for possible acquisitions by foreign groups. Leonardo, critics say, not even under the management of Mauro Moretti had it managed to lose as much turnover as with Profumo. Why this? It is legitimate to ask questions and expect answers from the Ministry of Economy. There are not a few who wonder why Profumo does not start the merger between Leonardo-Finmeccanica and Fincantieri (and Piaggi Aero). In an interview with the Financial Times some time ago, he defines the option defined this option "out of place", adding that the industrial plan is on track to "restore Leonardo to long-term sustainable growth" with the aim to achieve double-digit profitability over the next five years. Al Sole 24 ore said: “The main challenge for a company that deals with aerospace, defense and security is certainly that of technological innovation. Our goal is to maintain a record in this area, which moves at a very high speed. In this sense, I would like to remind you that Leonardo alone represented 18% of Italian high-tech manufacturing exports in 2019 ". Either this is his trump card or it will be pains for everyone.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency
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