Military deals will boost 2015 orders: Airbus Helicopters

January 29, 2015
By Reuters
Jan. 29, 2015, Paris, France - Airbus Helicopters is betting on military deals with Poland, Qatar and Kuwait to boost orders this year, as the plunge in the price of crude pressures civil demand from oil exploration companies, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

The division of Airbus Group forecast helicopter deliveries would remain stable in 2015 after falling 5.2 percent to 471 last year. Orders should exceed deliveries after annual net sales fell to 402 helicopters from 422 in 2013.

Whilst total deliveries fell last year, they included a record 101 heavyweight helicopters — 53 NH90s and 48 Super Pumas — Airbus Helicopters said.

These generate revenue for the company of 30-40 million euros, compared with an average 1.5 million ($1.7 million) for light helicopters, as they typically include additional weapons and logistics systems, division head Guillaume Faury said.

The year "2015 should be a period of stabilization across our industry," Airbus Helicopters in a statement.

The company hopes to win tenders with its NH90 model for 70 military transport helicopters for Poland, 24 for Kuwait and 22 for Qatar. Faury said he also had his eye on a possible deal for 32 attack helicopters for Poland.

Civil products represented 52 percent of consolidated turnover last year, while military sales accounted for 48 percent, Airbus Helicopters said.

Faury said the civil helicopter market would remain under pressure over the short-term as a result of the plunge in the price of crude, which has prompted oil exploration companies to tighten costs and push back projects.

Oil prices have dropped nearly 60 percent since peaking in June 2014 on ample global supplies from the U.S. shale oil boom and a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to keep its production quotas unchanged.

Oil companies account for 15 percent of Airbus Helicopters' revenue, Faury said. While some deliveries had been postponed, there had been no cancellations so far, he said, adding that helicopters were still in demand as exploration shifts to zones that are harder to access.

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