The new owners of stricken French maintenance, repair and overhaul company Sogerma will attempt to win back vital military maintenance work that it lost to Portugal when the contract comes up for renewal. Sogerma lost the important six-year full-support contract for the maintenance of the French air force's Lockheed Martin C-130 transports to Portuguese competitor OGMA in 2002.

France's TAT Group - parent of newly rebranded maintenance firm Sabena Technics - has since assumed responsibility for the maintenance operations of EADS Sogerma Services at its Merignac site near Bordeaux.

Speaking at MRO Europe late last month, Sabena Technics chief executive Christophe Bernardini said: "Four years ago, Sogerma lost that full-support contract to OGMA. That will be back on the market in two years' time, and we will compete then."

The two-year timeframe will coincide with the expected full integration of Sogerma into Sabena Technics, now the second-largest independent MRO business, after restructuring to reduce production costs.

"We need to increase our military business and there are some very good opportunities in Europe," says Bernardini. The company is also eyeing other potential deals to support C-130s operated in Algeria, Belgium, Cameroon and Nigeria, and further afield in Asia.

"Another big project is the French [Boeing E-3F] AWACS bid - a full support contract for four aircraft," says Bernardini. "The idea is to put the airframe work into our Merignac facility. We have to submit our offer by mid-November, with a start date of July 2007."

Source: Flight International