CFM56 powers Safran sales growth

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Safran's aerospace propulsion division turned in a strong first quarter, as sales gained 15.5% to €1.83 billion ($2.38 billion) owing primarily to strong civil side growth for CFM International CFM56 engines and spares.

OEM CFM56 engine deliveries totalled 390 units, up by 3%, says Safran. Total commitments and firm orders for the CFM56 and in-development successor Leap engines summed to 473. Safran is a 50-50 partner with GE in the CFM56 and Leap.

First overhauls of the most recent CFM56s and GE90s, to which Safran contributes, drove a 10% rise in civil aftermarket sales, while overall service revenue in the propulsion division grew 11.3%.

The smaller aircraft-equipment business grew 4.6% to €924 million, primarily attributable to the landing-gear business, with higher deliveries notably on Boeing 787, Airbus A330 and A320 programmes coupled with growing maintenance activity.

The nacelle business recorded a "soft" revenue increase, with an increase in service contracts and OE deliveries on A330 thrust reversers partly mitigated by lower A380 nacelles deliveries in the quarter 2013 - 28 units compared with 32 in the year-ago period - as well as lower deliveries of small nacelles for business and regional jets. Electrical harnessing activity saw a "good" performance driven by a production ramp-up in the 787 and A350 programmes.

High-thrust and helicopter engines also contributed to revenue growth, as did military engines sales, where the quarter was characterised by the first Airbus Military A400M engine deliveries and improvement from a particularly soft quarter a year ago in Dassault Rafale activity.