Eurocopter headed for future growth in 2013
Jan. 24, 2013, Paris, Fra. - Eurocopter delivered another very strong performance in 2012, with an all-time record turnover of 6.3 billion euros. The company’s second high record in bookings value marks a return to pre-crisis levels. This places Eurocopter in a strong position to benefit from its broad helicopter portfolio evolution, along with the expansion in services and a growing global footprint.
By Carey Fredericks
A strong growth in services and the 475 rotorcraft delivered last year generated a new turnover high of 6.3 billion euros – 15 percent more than in 2011, when the group reached a previous record of 5.4 billion euros. With a cumulated average growth rate of nine percent since 2006, Eurocopter is delivering one of the most impressive success stories in the European industry. Milestones in 2012 included deliveries of the first enhanced AS350 B3e version and the initial latest-generation EC130 T2 helicopter – both members of Eurocopter’s popular Ecureuil family; along with the 500th EC145 delivery. Eurocopter also provided the first A350 jetliner passenger door set, underscoring its innovative composite technology production capabilities.
Eurocopter’s consolidated order intake in 2012 totaled 469 net bookings, representing a value of 5.4 billion euros and marking the company’s third consecutive yearly increase since 2010. Sales were paced by the Ecureuil/Fennec/EC130 family with 249 bookings and the EC135/EC145 families with 144 bookings; while the Super Puma family remained strong last year, backed by significant bookings from the oil and gas sector – including a framework contract for 16 EC225s with the Milestone Aviation Group leasing company, and a first contract for the new AS332C1e – placed by Starlite Aviation.
“Eurocopter took new steps during 2012 as we transitioned from being a helicopter manufacturer to becoming a true vertical-lift mission solutions provider, supported by the modernization of our product line while also providing a more comprehensive services offer and growing the global footprint,” said President & CEO Lutz Bertling. “A key contributor to our 2012 achievements was the dedication of Eurocopter employees – who are a determining factor in the company’s success.”
Helicopter deliveries represented 49 percent of Eurocopter’s 2012 consolidated turnover, while services continued to play an increasing role by accounting for 42 percent of the total. Other activities represented the remaining nine per cent.
Bookings by product range
Successes in key helicopter product lines drove the 2012 sales growth, led by the Ecureuil/Fennec/EC130 series:
- Eureuil/Fennec/EC130 family: 249
- EC145: 81
- EC135: 63
- Super Puma/Cougar EC225/EC725 family: 37
- EC175: 19
- Dauphin/Panther/ EC155 Family: 11
- EC120 Colibri: 9
Eurocopter’s services activity now accounts for 47 percent of the total bookings, thus paving the way for future growth of this business.
Product line evolution was at the heart of Eurocopter’s achievements in 2012, including the enhanced EC130 T2 and EC145 T2 helicopters’ highly successful commercial launch, the go-ahead and first order for the new Super Puma AS332 C1e; maiden flight of the no. 1 production EC175 that demonstrated its unrivalled performance; and a highly successful U.S. tour for the hybrid X3 demonstrator aircraft.
In the military sector, 2012 highlights involved Eurocopter’s delivery of the initial NH90 TTH Tactical Transport Helicopter qualified in the Final Operational Configuration, received by the French and Belgian Armies; and the first final-configuration “Step B” version of the NH90 NFH NATO Fregat Helicopter, delivered to the Netherlands and the French Navy. Four German Army Tiger support helicopters were deployed to Afghanistan in the ASGARD (Afghanistan Stabilization German Army Rapid Deployment) version, and Germany received an on-time delivery of the NH90 TTH in its medical evacuation configuration for deployment in Afghanistan in 2013; while five Italian Army Aviation NH90 TTHs were positioned in Afghanistan during 2012.
Eurocopter’s focus on services also paid off last year, with key milestones including the installation of five new full-flight simulators, bringing the worldwide total to 20; establishment of an engine maintenance training center in Mexico with Turbomeca; an extension of the logistics and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) network with an oil and gas industry support center opened in Perth, Australia; the expansion of global helicopter maintenance capabilities; and improvement of the Eurocopter Japan affiliate’s capacity with a brand new facility at Kobe Airport.
Major helicopter upgrade milestones in 2012 were Eurocopter’s initial delivery of the mission-enhanced Puma Mk2 to the U.K. Ministry of Defence, and handover of the first improved CH-53GA for the German armed forces.
Eurocopter has continued to develop its MRO capabilities through the Vector sister company, increasing its international footprint and offering new solutions – including an AS332 Super Puma upgrade, leasing and support offer.
2013 flight plan
Eurocopter’s focus in the coming year will be on program execution, with the company mastering its continued production ramp-up as deliveries are to increase by more than 15 percent in 2013. Goals include sustaining the delivery pace for Super Puma, Ecureuil, NH90 and Tiger helicopters, as well as preparing the EC175’s ramp-up.
As optimization is a priority for Eurocopter in 2013, the emphasis will be on lean products, lean processes, lean culture and lean foundation.
The advanced vertical-lift solutions also are 2013 priorities, as Eurocopter pursues concept validation and launch of the product application for its X3 hybrid aircraft; and advances the X4’s development as the first member in its next-generation family concept, to be followed by the X6 and X9 at less than two-year intervals for each.
To continue delivering on its strategy as a mission solutions provider, priorities in support and services for 2013 include a full range of MRO services to be developed for complete helicopters; the evolution of maintenance and overhaul capabilities on non-Eurocopter products that include both rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft; further expansions in training; and the creation of new, innovative services. Vector will significantly contribute to this deployment, developing solutions for multi-platform fleet operators and addressing specific market segments.
As a result, Eurocopter is laying the foundation to continue its growth story.