One of the concerns we have had about the success of the MC-21 program has been customer financial support.  We are confident the program will achieve its technical goals.  But a crucial tool for an OEM is to have a source of customer finance.  Boeing has proven the value of the ExIm Bank and wants that facility back as quickly as they can get it.  Airbus, Bombardier, and Embraer have these type of facilities as well.

It is good news then to see that IRKUT signed a deal with Russia’s Sberbank.  As the IRKUT PR noted, “Since 2012, Sberbank has been the main financial partner in the development and production of the newest medium-range MC-21 airliner. The amount of credit resources provided to the project is about 1 billion US dollars.” Sberbank operates in 22 countries.  The bank is essential state owned (50%+1 voting share).  The implication is that the full backing of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation is behind Sberbank.  IRKUT has the kind of backing that gives it financial critical mass.

Most importantly, potential customers can now consider Sberbank as the ultimate source of capital for acquiring MC-21s.  With Sberbank operatons in 22 countries, IRKUT’s sales team can increase its reach to pitch the MC-21 in all 22 locations.  As the MC-21 moves through its flight test regime and reaches EIS, IRKUT has the credit facilities to offer customers.  This is a valuable financial tool for IRKUT and probably a good source of non-rouble revenue for the bank.

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