Italy's Finmeccanica made its first air show appearance this month as a unified company,  featuring the line-up of divisions that have replaced its traditional, individually named and semi-autonomous units.

Instead of finding AgustaWestland, visitors to the Bahrain Air Show saw helicopters produced by Finmeccanica's helicopter division. The name Selex had vanished, to be replaced by Finmeccanica's Airborne & Space Systems, Land & Naval Defence Electronics, and Security & Information Systems divisions.

From Jan. 1, Alenia Aermacchi has also become the firm's aviation division, while cannon-maker Oto Melara and torpedo unit WASS have been put together in a Defense Systems division.

The change represents the group's drive to cut out overlaps that led to each unit enjoying semi-autonomous status, pushing them to compete with each other and often set up rival storefronts in overseas markets. Now, with shared corporate back offices, large savings and better synergies are predicted.

So far so resolute, as Finmeccanica follows the same internal integration path that Airbus undertook. However, Finmeccanica CEO Mauro Moretti has said the group's historic brands may not fully disappear. He has yet to make a decision, but some may be kept as product names, he has said.

"We are assessing our brands to identify those that will continue to be used to identify our products," a spokeswoman said.

Finmeccanica has hitherto changed the names of its units in a peacemeal fashion, reflecting its slowly evolving process of integration, sometimes leaving observers confused.

But the spokeswoman said Moretti believed the latest changes needed to be decided and made gradually to accustom the market to the new look.

More change is yet to come, since Moretti has also said he plans to ditch the name Finmeccanica.

One Italy-based analyst, who declined to be named, saw a precedent for a company dropping familiar names in the US.

"When Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas they killed off the name," he said. "Here in Europe, Airbus has now become the name for everything in the group, although it is slightly weird having missiles associated with the word 'bus.' "

The analyst said Moretti could not be faulted for taking his time on deciding the fate of the brand names like Alenia. "He can decide when signing contracts," he said. "The big decision is what the name of the group changes to."

Amid the upheaval, one name that will continue to be used as a product moniker, if not a company name, is AgustaWestland. "It will surely remain because it is well known and respected on the international markets and identifies a world-leading product range," the spokeswoman said.

"When it comes to rebranding, it was a relatively simple matter for Airbus, because Airbus had a great central brand," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at the Teal Group.

"Finmeccanica needs to be a bit more cautious; after all, there's a chance they won't even keep the Finmeccanica name in the long run," he added.

"The example of AgustaWestland shows that there are some product lines that have better names than the parent company's. Do others have traction in the US? I don't think Alenia does. They're associated with their role on the 787 and the JCA program, neither of which were particularly stellar experiences."

A UK-based analyst said that the AgustaWestland brand would be hard to shake in the UK, where the UK part of the firm was known as Westland before it merged with Italy's Agusta.

"In Yeovil, where the line is, they have never mastered Agusta and it is still Westland," the analyst said. "If you are exporting helicopters, you are exporting a reputation and people buy into that association. I am not sure the other brands have that kind of loyalty."

Speaking on Jan. 21, Moretti said overall group results in 2015, which have yet to be announced, would be "far superior" to 2014 and that the firm would cut debt by 900 million euros in 2016.

Finmeccanica said Jan. 28 that it expected to close 2015 with helicopter revenues in line with 2014, despite the downturn in the oil and gas sector, which is a prime customer for rotorcraft.

The company racked up a €450 million (approximately US $487 million) deal this month when it was given a contract to supply Tetra radio services to the Italian police.

Italy was also due to sign a deal Jan. 31 with Kuwait for the purchase of 28 Eurofighters, which could be worth €4 billion to Finmeccanica. As lead nation in the marketing effort to sell the Typhoon to Kuwait, the new build aircraft delivered will come off Finmeccanica's assembly line.

Kuwaiti sources have also said that pilots will train in Italy, meaning at Lecce air base, where Finmeccanica-supplied M-346 trainer aircraft and simulators are used.

Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.

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