The plans for a US$ 50 billion investment funded by Antonov had a big impact in the Brazilian media this week. According to articles published by the local CNN and the Metropoles outlet, representatives of the Ukrainian company were in the country to negotiate an agreement with the government of São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous and richest state.
Later, government authorities confirmed that they held an audience with Antonov on April 11, when the company presented a proposal to implement an aircraft assembly line in São Paulo within five years.
“The Secretariat for International Affairs of the State of São Paulo informs that, on April 11, it received representatives of Oleksandr Nykonenko and Victor Avdeyev, director and vice-president of Antonov Company, for a hearing regarding the interest of the Ukrainian state-owned company Antonov to develop activities in Brazil, especially in the State of São Paulo,” the statement said.
A presentation slide attributed to Antonov states that the company “has great interest in migrating the Company’s production to a neutral jurisdiction”, due to the conflict with Russia.
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The Brazilian press, however, pointed out that Antonov had changed its plans after statements by the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who also blamed Ukraine for the war.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Antonov denied that it had given up investing in Brazil. “[Antonov] it constantly conducts consultations with foreign partners from various countries, including the Federal Republic of Brazil, as part of its activities aiming to promote products and services into foreign markets“, but that it does not recognize the alleged representatives in the country.
“ANTONOV Company has not an authorized representative in Brazil and has not granted any persons, including law firms, any authority to represent the Company’s interests,” said the company, which also stressed that “the report in the Brazilian press is not the official position of ANTONOV Company.”
25% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2021
Antonov’s alleged plans in Brazil lack guarantees that they are real. The Ukrainian company has been going through a financial crisis for years, with its assembly line stopped since at least 2016.
In the past decade, the planemaker has focused on producing the An-148, An-158 and An-178 airlifter, but only a few aircraft have been completed.
Although there are no doubts about the manufacturer’s technical capacity, there are currently no products with the potential to generate revenues that would justify such a high investment, equivalent to 25% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2021.