French thrust reverser and nacelle manufacturer Hurel-Dubois has posted its strongest performance since the company was formed in 1947.

A 34% increase in sales, to Fr1.34 billion ($.21 billion) and a 61% jump in net profits, to Fr 52.6 million ($8.4million), came after a restructuring effort in 1998.

President Francis Avanzi says Hurel-Dubois, the European sales leader in thrust reversers, has had a "remarkable year in an extremely competitive environment".

Avanzi points to three factors that he says will see thrust reverser/nacelle sales growing fast over the next few years: the need for airlines to meet forthcoming tougher noise regulations, the recovery in the Asian market and the shift away from turboprop to jet-powered regional aircraft.

The list of new business in the last few months has seen Hurel-Dubois selected, with partner Aeromacci, to supply the nacelle for the General Electric CF-34-8D turbofan powering the just launched Fairchild-Dornier 728JET. The company was also chosen to supply complete nacelles for the Embraer RJ-135 and thrust reversers for the Pratt &Whitney PW6000 on the recently launched Airbus Industrie A318, as well as for the Bombardier Continental Jet. It became a 2% partner in the A3XX programme and signed a deal with Airbus on the A340-500/600 to provide fuselage belly fairings. "These new programmes will bring an extra $1.5 billion worth of business over the next ten years," says Avanzi.

The company's SINT division last year also formed a joint venture with Aircell (Hispano-Suiza and Airbus Industrie) to provide final integration of nacelles at Toulouse, while a new division, Hurel-Dubois Services, was created to offer global maintenance and support services. Avanzi says the division should account for up to 10% of total sales by 2001.

Source: Flight International