DeeDee Doke/LONDON

US-based DeCrane Aircraft Holdings plans more interiors acquisitions after snapping up seven aircraft furniture and electronics design and manufacturing companies in the past 19 months.

Chief executive and founder Jack DeCrane says his company's Cabin Management Group requires "probably another piece or two" to give it "a total cabin capability". Businesses that have been targeted for takeover are likely to be in the USA.

DeCrane's growth strategy has been to acquire market leaders in niche fields. The El Segundo, California-based company has made three purchases this year - seating and galley systems specialist ERDA, the Aviart Group, a cabinet, finish and upholstery manufacturer, and veneer wood products supplier Carl F Booth.

DeCrane's acquisitions have seen group staff numbers rise above 3,000 as it rides the business jet boom.

Interiors sales topped $74 million last year and continue to grow with its acquisitions. Backlogs at traditional completion centres mean the company's "cabin in a box" solution is in demand, offering all elements in one package at faster turnaround times.

DeCrane says refurbishment on current types will boost business over the next few years, with the fitting-out of new aircraft providing added growth once aircraft such as the Cessna Citation Sovereign and Raytheon Hawker Horizon enter the market in the mid-decade.

"We're confident with the next 24 to 36 months," says DeCrane. "And in 2003 to 2004, there are going to be a whole lot of aircraft needing to be refurbished. I think we'll around for a long time."

Source: Flight International