Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa) has swung back into profits over the first half of 1997, helped by rising aircraft sales and a strengthening US dollar.

Dasa turned in first-half net profits of DM74 million ($40 million), an improvement on the disastrous performance a year ago, when the company's losses mounted to DM677 million in the midst of the Fokker Aircraft failure and the launch of radical cost-cutting.

Sales over the six months soared by 26% to DM6.7 billion, helped by the flow of Airbus and Eurocopter contracts. There were also major improvements in the military-aircraft sector, where Tornado upgrade work helped lift sales by 76%, and in the aero-engines division, where sales rose by 43%. Favourable deutschemark exchange-rate variations, particularly against the US dollar and pound sterling, also played a role.

Jürgen Schrempp, head of the parent Daimler-Benz group, announcing the improvement, stressed the need for an integrated European aerospace industry, including defence mergers to rival those in the USA.

He expresses confidence that the Airbus consortium will complete its transformation into a single corporate entity before the end of the century, despite the change of Government in France. Schrempp adds that Airbus must shoot for a 50% share of the global airliner market "in the long term".

Source: Flight International