FARNBOROUGH: Eurocopter expects 10-12% sales growth this year

Farnborough
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Eurocopter (OE13) expects to near the €6 billion ($7.4 billion) revenue mark for the first time this year.

Chief executive Lutz Bertling says that the Marseille-based EADS subsidiary sold twice as many helicopters during the first six months this year than during the same period in 2011. The first half is traditionally much quieter than the second.

The manufacturer aims to take a total of 500 orders and become "significantly more profitable" this year.

Bertling says that sales will increase by 10-12% and "scratch" the €6 billion mark for the first time, after the company generated around €5.4 billion in 2011.

Greater profitability would already be evident from the forthcoming half-year results. Bertling declines, however, to quantify the improvement due to stock exchange regulations about the disclosure of margin details before specified reporting dates.

Oil and gas customers are the main growth driver. In western Europe, government sector sales - not just to military but also para-public operators - are down due to budget cuts. In Asia, however, the emergency services sector is growing fast.

Business in the Middle East and north Africa is "difficult", says Bertling, while markets in eastern Europe provide "good growth".

Bertling also expects Latin America's oil and gas industry to "come back" and expects a "strong ramp-up" to all sectors in the USA.

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