Eurofighter Said to Close In on 28-Aircraft Order From Kuwait

Eurofighter GmbH is close to sealing a multi-billion euro order to supply 28 of its Typhoon warplanes to Kuwait, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

The purchase would be structured as a government-to-government agreement between Kuwait and Italy, with Rome-based Eurofighter partner Finmeccanica SpA having led the sales effort, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

No cash value will be disclosed for the order, according to the person, though the aircraft has a list price of about 140 million euros ($158), with training and support expenses adding as much as 50 million euros more per aircraft.

Apart from the air forces of Eurofighter partners Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany, Saudi Arabia and Austria also operate the plane and Oman has placed orders. A deal with Kuwait would come as a boost for the project after the rival Rafale, built by Dassault Aviation SA of France, scooped commitments in Egypt, Qatar and India.

BAE Systems Plc said in July that its ability to increase full-year underlying earnings per share is contingent on securing further Eurofighter sales. Prospects for a follow-on deal in Saudi Arabia may have decreased as the lower price of crude crimps export revenues.

Eurofighter also has a chance of orders from Bahrain, Qatar -- which signed an outline deal for the Rafale in May -- and even the United Arab Emirates, which ended talks on a purchase in 2013. The last export deal was with Oman in 2012, for 12 jets.

Italy’s Corriere della Sera said earlier on its website that Finmeccanica had won Kuwaiti contracts worth as much as 8 billion euros through its Alenia Aermacchi unit after three years of talks, with the Eurofighter consortium a prime beneficiary.

An accord was reached Thursday and signed by Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti and Finmeccanica Chief Executive Officer Mauro Moretti, Corriere della Sera said.

Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and Eurofighter declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg news.

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