Chris Jasper/LONDON

Airbus accounted for 61% of the turnover of European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) last year, up from 56% in 1999 - reflecting the airframer's continued sales success but also increasing EADS' exposure to the vagaries of the civil airliner market.

EADS's total sales, pro forma, were €24.21 billion ($22.93 billion), up 7.2% on 1999, maintaining its position as the world's third-largest aerospace company. Airbus itself had total sales of $17.2 billion (up 3%), compared with Boeing Commercial Airplanes' sales of $31.2 billion (down 19%).

EADS' share of Airbus sales was $14.86 billion, up 17.5%, while its aeronautics division saw sales rise nearly 10% to $4.7 billion, even before the impact of new projects such as Eurofighter and the Tiger and NH90 helicopters. Disposals meant defence and civil systems sales fell 24%, however, while the figure was flat on a continuing basis, despite efforts to grow the division to help offset civil side exposure. Space division sales were also flat at €2.54 billion, but military transport aircraft sales rose 31% to €316 million.

EADS's orderbook performance was particularly strong, with its record intake of €49.3 billion representing a 50.8% rise, and more than double its sales for the year. Again, Airbus led the way, with its 520 aircraft orders contributing €33.65 billion (up 63%) to the EADS total (the company owns 80% of the airframer) and aeronautics €8.32 billion (up 70%, largely on the NH90 production contract). Space orders also rose by more than a third, but defence and civil systems fell.

The orders gave EADS a backlog of €133 billion (up 30%), equivalent to five years of business activity. EADS' co-chief executives, Philippe Camus and Rainer Hertrich, say the company, formed in July last year from Aerospatiale Matra, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace and CASA, has achieved the goals set at its launch.

They add that the backlog affords "an exceptional visibility for the future and makes us very confident that we will meet if not outperform our medium-term growth and profitability targets". EADS will reveal profit figures next month.

France's Thales - formerly Thomson-CSF - has reported sales of €8.58 billion for 2000, up 25%, with most growth coming from acquisitions including Racal Electronics. On a continuing basis, sales grew by 8%. Thales now ranks as the world's fourth largest defence/aerospace supplier.

Source: Flight International