Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Aero Vodochody, the largest aircraft manufacturer in the Czech Republic has changed owners after 15 years. In June this year, Penta Investments signed a sale and purchase agreement with Hungarian company HSC Aerojet Zrt. Along with Aero Vodochody, Penta also sold Letiště Vodochody, a.s. airport.

The new owners will control Aero through Vodochody Holdings HU, which is 100 per cent owned by HSC Aerojet Zrt. Aero will continue developing all three pillars of its business:

  • the production and development of its own aircraft
  • maintenance, repair & overhauls (MRO)
  • aerostructures programmes

With the change of ownership, the Company’s management is also evolving. Viktor Sotona, the current CEO of the Pardubice company ERA, will become President & CEO. Under his leadership, ERA doubled the number of its employees.

Company History

In 2006, Penta won Aero Vodochody in a privatisation competition for almost CZK 3Bn. The company, which at that time had a loss of CZK 1Bn, underwent a significant restructuring and returned to an operating profit within a year. Over the next ten years, Aero successfully developed civilian programmes for international aircraft manufacturers including Boeing, Bombardier, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Embraer. In 2014, Penta decided to return to the production of its own aircraft. Omnipol, a.s., started the development and subsequent preparation for serial production of the L-39NG aircraft.

Since 2016, the company has fallen into the red, mainly due to the loss of the Sikorsky programme and heavy investments into the development of the new aircraft. The L-39NG was successfully certified in September 2020. Penta’s strategy also included the development of Vodochody Airport for low-cost civil transportation, but the new owner has announced that it is withdrawing from this plan. The airport will thus continue to serve only the needs of Aero Vodochody or the Czech Army, with whom Aero has a signed contract on the possible use of the airport until 2026.