PARIS — British private-equity investment company Cinven Ltd. has purchased aerospace-propulsion specialist AvioS.p.A. of Italy from Carlyle Group and Finmeccanica for 2.57 billion euros ($3.3


. The deal will be followed by a fresh Finmeccanica investment equivalent to 15 percent of Avio’s equity.

The companies announced the deal Aug. 6 and Aug. 7 following several months during which Carlyle and Finmeccanica explored various alternatives for Avio, a major component builder for Europe’s Ariane 5 rockets and majority owner of ELV S.p.A., which is building Europe’s Vega small-satellite launcher.

Carlyle owns 70 percent of Avio and Finmeccanica, 30 percent. The two companies made the purchase together in September 2003 for a price of about 1.5 billion euros.

Finmeccanica said in an Aug. 6 statement that it intends to purchase from Cinven a 15-percent equity stake in Avio, and that it has reserved the right to return to its 30-percent ownership level

if it acts before the Cinven sale closes, after regulatory review, this fall.

said that under the terms of the sale, it will cede its 30-percent stake in Avio to Cinven for 430 million euros and then repurchase a 15-percent share for 150 million euros. The company said its 2003 investment in Avio has tripled in value based on the Cinven sale.

owns 70 percent of ELV, with the Italian Space Agency owning the remaining 30 percent; 60 and 50 percent, respectively, of Ariane 5 rocket-propulsion suppliers Regulus and


6 percent of the Arianespace commercial-launch consortium; and 5 percent of Cira, Italy’s aerospace research center. Avio reported sales of 1.28 billion euros in 2005 and is forecasting 2006 sales of 1.4 billion euros, with an EBITDA –

earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization –

margin of about 20 percent of revenues.