Among the complaints MD Helicopters chief Lynn Tilton voiced after losing the U.S. Army’s $3-billion Light Utility Helicopter contract was that the Army’s choice, European aerospace group EADS, was suspected of insider trading.
Tilton and the Mesa, Ariz.-based manufacturer have moved on to focus on improving MD’s customer support, rebuilding its supply chain, and netting civil and other military sales.
The team led by EADS, Eurocopter’s parent, has progressed steadily on the LUH contract, getting full-rate production from the Army in August and ramping up the build rate of the EC145-based UH-72A Lakotas at American Eurocopter’s Columbus, Miss. plant to two a month.
Meanwhile in France, investigations into the insider trading charges pressed on. Early last month, news broke that the French stock market regulator Autorite des Marches Financiers filed a report after a yearlong investigation that cited indications of "concurrent and massive" sales of EADS between November 2005 and March 2006 involving a long list of people that included 21 top EADS executives. The 21 reportedly included Francois Bregier, formerly head of Eurocopter and now COO of Airbus.
The stock sales preceded Airbus’s announcement early this year of major delays in its multi-billion A380 superjumbo airliner program. That news contributed to a 26-percent drop in the price of EADS stock.
In addition to a legal probe and the stock regulator’s investigation, the French Senate now is looking into the matter.