Eurocopter, the worldâ€™s leading helicopter manufacturer, fully met its 2008 objectives for helicopter sales and deliveries and increased its turnover by 7.5 %.
In 2008, Eurocopter once again secured its position as the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of civil and parapublic helicopters with a total of 588 helicopter deliveries for new military and civil helicopters.
This figure constitutes a production ramp-up of 20% percent as compared to 2007 and reinforced its position as a major branded business division within EADS, counting for a consolidated turnover of 4.5 billion Euros.
Order bookings, still showing strong demand for new helicopter models and services, amounted to 4.9 billion Euros. This included 715 new aircraft. The companyâ€™s total order backlog by the end of December 2008 was over 14 billion Euros or the equivalent of 1,550 helicopters.
Although 2009 economic trends are unpredictable and will see cancellations, Eurocopter is confident that its backlog and unique business model should be major assets in retaining its solidity through 2009 and beyond.
55 percent of the companyâ€™s turnover achieved in 2008 was related to serial helicopters (equalling 2.48 billion Euros), 32 percent (1.45 billion Euros) derived out of support and services, whereas 13 percent (0.56 billion Euros) were realized from development and other activities.
While 55 percent of the turnover derived from civil and parapublic sales, 45 percent was related to Eurocopterâ€™s military products. The company thereby retained its healthy balance between the civil and military markets. The export share is 65 percent, with 35 percent achieved in the companyâ€™s domestic markets (i.e., France, Germany, Spain), proving Eurocopterâ€™s successful strategy of expanding its activities to emerging markets.
Due to the strong market for new helicopter sales, the breakdown is as follows: serial helicopters 59 percent (2.83 billion Euros), support and services 35 percent (1.7 billion Euros) and development and other activities 6 percent (0.3 billion Euros).
Regarding the 2008 bookings, military and civil products count respectively for 36 and 64 percent. The total export rate amounts to 64 percent.
Bookings related to product range
2008 orders were placed for 715 production helicopters as follows:
– 85 units of EC120 Colibri
– 340 units of the AS350/355 Ecureuil/Fennec/EC130 family
– 123 units of EC135
– 81 units of EC145
– 39 units of the Dauphin/Panther/EC155 family
– 35 units of the Super Puma/CougarEC225/EC725 family
– 12 NH90
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling stated: â€œOur comprehensive and diverse product and services portfolio has once again proven to be perfectly adapted to customer requirements and their broad scope of mission versatility. In 2008, we achieved another excellent sales result.â€
Eurocopter made technical progress during the year by fully qualifying the Tiger in its HAP and UHT variants, and by ramping up NH90 production with first deliveries from the Finnish and Australian assembly lines.
Eurocopter delivered the 50th UH-72A Lakota to the U.S. Army last December and won the U.S. Navy as an additional customer for the Lakota. This makes Eurocopter one of the very few European companies to have built up a sustained supplier relationship with the U.S. Armed Forces. Production of the first EC175 prototype co-developed with Chinese partners was launched.
Lutz Bertling continued: â€œI cannot emphasize strongly enough that our global industrial strategy is a backbone of our market and business strength. We created our 18th subsidiary in Indonesia, linked to the manufacturing of Super Puma airframes in that country, and we enlarged our facilities in Canada, the UK and in South Africa. We also delivered the first Spanish-produced EC135 from our Albacete facility. Even if it is not yet in the 2008 results, our recent achievement of signing for the production of 50 EC725 in Brazil is the result of a long-standing relationship, combined with a production facility.â€
He then stated: â€œIt is our aim to raise the contribution of support and services to 50 percent of our turnover by 2020. We have taken first steps towards this goal in 2008 through the acquisition of Motorflug. We invested heavily in training facilities, notably through simulators. As I mentioned last year, Eurocopter is well on its way to becoming a full services provider.â€
In 2008, Eurocopter kept on investing in Research & Development, having increased its self funded expenditure by 40 percent in 2008 as compared to 2007.
One of the focal points of the companyâ€™s R&D efforts are in the field of environmental compatibility. Eurocopter participates in several pan-European programmes leading up to a â€œGreen Helicopterâ€, such as Friendcopter, Clean Sky, REACH, the installation of a diesel engine on a light helicopter.
In addition, Eurocopter carried out first flights with an unmanned helicopter and is preparing the next generation of helicopters.
Challenges for 2009
Facing a highly unpredictable market situation and in line with the 2020 agenda of its parent company, EADS, Eurocopter has identified the challenges ahead for 2009 and beyond and will focus on the following targets:
1. Closely monitor and master the effects of the worldwide financial crisis by maintaining maximum flexibility as well as support key customers in getting financings
2. Maintain Eurocopter leadership in innovation and continuous fleet upgrade, by increasing the R&D budget , and prepare the next generation of helicopters.
3. Continue to develop the international presence and extend services based on new acquisitions and technological capabilities .
With these targets, and the strong portion of governmental and support backlog Eurocopter is confident to remain well-positioned to meet the challenges of the years to come.
Source: EADS / Eurocopter