Eurocopter took 382 orders last year while deliveries were up 20% on 1998 across all markets to 241 machines. In the civil and parapublic sector, which grew by 5%, the Franco-German manufacturer accounted for 45% of all deliveries. Its defence business took 40% of the market. Turnover, however, was down slightly at Fr11.45 billion ($1.77 billion).

Despite its strong market position in the civil sector, where it claims to rank first in terms of deliveries, defence activities remain central to Eurocopter's business, with military contracts accounting for 71.6% of orders, worth Fr20.7 billion, including new and pre-owned aircraft, research activities and customer support. An order for 160 Tiger attack helicopters alone accounted for Fr10.6 million of its Fr15.3 billion in consolidated helicopter orders.

Eurocopter, owned 70:30 by Aerospatiale Matra and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, aims to consolidate its market position via a two-year programme aimed at reducing cost, cutting production cycles and improving client services and product support. Another goal is to get participating governments to sign to the four-nation NH Industries NH90 multirole military helicopter. With the establishment of European, Aeronautic, Defense and Space, the joint venture will have a single shareholder.

Eurocopter's 1998 net profit was Fr448 million, compared with Fr28 million in 1997. Chairman Patrick Gavin says it expects to post a "significant profit" for 1999.

Source: Flight International