Eurocopter has announced record orders and turnover for 2007. At a total of €6.6 billion ($9.5 billion), orders for the year were up 30% on the previous record achieved in 2006, according to the manufacturer's chief executive Dr Lutz Bertling.
The 2007 figures received a major boost by military orders for NH90s from Germany and Spain, but Bertling insists the sales remain balanced between sectors (56% military/44% civil).
The oil support industry demand is strong because high oil prices are driving exploration further offshore, says Bertling, adding that the VIP/corporate sector is booming, with sales up by 30% for the year.
Orders in 2007 included:
73 EC120 Colibris
325 AS350/355 Ecureuil/Fennec/EC130 family
88 BK117/EC145 family aircraft
47Dauphin/Panther /EC155 family
22 Super Puma/Cougar EC225/EC725 family
18 Tiger attack helicopters.
Bertling says Eurocopter's "international footprint" is expanding fast, adding: "The best evidence for our success is that our competitors are beginning to copy us."
The company's service sector is also expanding, according to Bertling, particularly the company's total support solution and pilot training. He expects the service sector to show the greatest growth in the next figures. Bertling points out that Eurocopter is responsible for about 10% of EADS's total revenues, and predicts that the company's orders will double before 2020.
Bertling believes from 2010 Eurocopter's growth performance will stabilise at a healthy but steady 10% a year, compared with the 30% a year Eurocopter has seen in the last three years.
Meanwhile he predicts 2008 orders will be down on those of 2007, but only because the latter was exceptional.
However, he warns that a worldwide shortage of well-trained, highly skilled, well- motivated engineers threatens the industry worldwide, saying it is important to attract young people into the profession.