Eurocopter's revenues climbed to €2.78 billion ($3.61 billion) in 2004, 7% higher than the previous year. Orders were booked for 322 civil and military helicopters last year, up from 293 in 2003. But deliveries slipped from 297 helicopters in 2003 to 279 in 2004. More than half of turnover came from exports, with 44% accruing from domestic activities in France, Germany and Spain.

Orders including pre-owned helicopters, services and research and development rose 26% in 2004 to c3.24 billion. By value, the orders were split 51:49 between the military and civil/parapublic sectors, says Eurocopter - opposite to turnover, which was 53:47 in favour of the civil and parapublic sector.

The EADS subsidiary expects turnover to increase significantly in 2005 as its substantial military backlog - principally Tiger and NH90 helicopters - begins to feed through into production. Helicopter deliveries accounted for 49% of revenues in 2004, with services making up 35% and R&D and other activities the remaining 16%.

Eurocopter says it plans to continue its policy of investing heavily in R&D to renew and upgrade products, including research into making helicopters quieter, more economical and more comfortable. Eurocopter invests an average of 15% of its turnover each year in R&D.

Eurocopter plans to deliver the first Tiger helicopters to France and Germany in the coming months. Australia took delivery of its first two Tigers in December. The company says it will proceed with the qualification process for the NH90 and Tiger helicopters this year.

Eurocopter wants to encourage overseas customers with NH90 orders to make use of four crew training centres to be built in Germany by Helicopter Flight Training Services, a consortium made up of CAE, Eurocopter, Rheinemetall Defence Electronics and Thales as part of a c488 million private finance initiative with Germany.

Orders in 2004 included 39 EC120 light turbine singles, 146 Ecureuil/Fennec light singles and twins, 67 EC135 light twins, 13 BK117/EC145 intermediate twins, 32 Dauphin/Panther medium twins, 15 Super Puma/Cougar medium-heavy twins and 20 NH90 transport/naval helicopters.


Source: Flight International