China to buy 150 helicopters from Poland’s PZL Swidnik

China will buy 150 helicopters from Poland’s PZL Swidnik over 10 years under an agreement signed between the Polish aircraft firm and China’s Jiujiang aeronautics plant, PZL Swidnik confirmed late last week. “It is a framework agreement for co-operation over a decade. We will deliver three types of helicopters: PZL Sokol, PZL Kania and SW4, according to orders that will be specified on a yearly basis,” PZL Swidnik spokesman Jan Mazur told AFP.

A standard version PZL Sokol helicopter costs $4.0 mln (2.6 mln euro), while a SW-4 costs less than $1,000,000. “We also intend to assemble our PZL Sokol machines in China,” Mazur said, but declined to provide further details. According to Poland’s Rzeczpospolita daily, PZL’s Chinese partner is preparing the ground for the assembly plant. Poland’s State Treasury controls 87 percent of the PZL Swidnik aeronautics manufacturer, while the remaining shares are held, among others, by the municipality of Swidnik, southeast Poland.

Swedish furniture maker and retailer Ikea announced late last week that it planned over the next seven years to more than double its outlets in Poland from seven to 15. “Ikea will open eight new stores in Poland by 2015. The cost of building each one will be around 120 mln zloty (34.1 mln euro, $51.8 mln),” Karolina Horoszczak, spokeswoman for Ikea Poland, told AFP. Ex-Communist Poland, which joined the EU in 2004, has enjoyed several years of robust economic growth. A construction and renovation boom has in turn fed demand for home furnishing from the growing middle class in this country of 38 mln people. Ikea already has seven stores in Poland, mostly on the outskirts of the country’s major cities, and plans to upgrade several of them.

Horoszczak said that most of the new outlets would be built in suburban shopping complexes belonging to Ikea, which rents out business space to other companies. Ikea is already building two such centers: a 150-mln-euro site in the central city of Lodz and an 80-mln-euro one in Poznan, in western Poland. Poland is also a major production base for the Swedish giant. It is the second-biggest producer of Ikea furniture, manufacturing 16 percent of the group’s products. China is the biggest producer with 22 percent.

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