Bertling reports 2012 Eurocopter performance


Lutz Bertling, chief executive of Eurocopter reports the results and performance for 2012 and gave an insight into the future direction of the EADS subsidiary company.

Lutz Bertling

At a press conference in Paris, France, Lutz Bertling, chief executive officer of Eurocopter outlined the company’s performance over the past year and gave an insight into the future. Eurocopter delivered a very strong performance in 2012, with an all-time record turnover of €6.3 billion. The company’s second high record in bookings value, appears to mark a return to pre-crisis levels.

A strong growth in services and the 475 aircraft delivered last year (this figure is down from 503 aircraft delivered in 2011) generated a new turnover high, the turnover being 15% higher than in 2011. With a cumulated average growth rate of nine percent since 2006, when Bertling became chief executive at Eurocopter. Bertling gave no indication of what the company is expected to do in turnover figures in 2013 but if they continue to grow the turnover in 2013 might see the company reach €7 billion. Again, Bertling would not give any indication of how many helicopters Eurocopter would deliver in 2013.

2012 milestones include deliveries of the first enhanced AS350 B3e version and the initial latest-generation EC130 T2 helicopter – both members of Eurocopter’s Ecureuil family; along with the 500th EC145 delivery.

The EC120 T2 was launched at Heli-Expo 2012, Eurocopter had unannounced orders beforehand of 50 (which they planned to announce at the show) but they actually announced a total of 105 orders for the new EC120 T2 version at the show.

Eurocopter makes components for other parts of the EADS company, they provided the first Airbus A350 jetliner passenger door set, showing its wealth of experience and its innovative composite technology production capabilities.

Eurocopter’s consolidated order intake in 2012 totalled 469 net bookings, represents a value of €5.4 billion 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.

During 2012, Eurocopter has had highlights with its military helicopters, the first NH90 TTH and first NH90 NFH for the French Army and French Navy and the first Tiger HAD helicopter for France is ready for acceptance. The company is supporting their helicopters in theatres of operations, in places like Afghanistan, Libya and Mali.

“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 percent.

Eurocopter’s services activity now accounts for 47 percent of the total bookings, thus paving the way for future growth of this business.

2012 highlights

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 US tour for the hybrid X3 demonstrator aircraft.

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.

The first EC175 delivery is slated for fourth quarter 2013, Bristow’s are due to be the launch customer for the EC175 but Bertling would not confirm that they would receive the first helicopter.

Bertling was then asked about the ongoing developments with EC225. The aircraft has been operating for years in the hostile North Sea environment and had recently suffered two major issues in a short space of time, which meant that the UK CAA and Norwegian aviation authorities grounding the helicopter until the reason for the issues were resolved. EC225’s are operating normally in other parts of the world in the oil and gas industry. Bertling confirmed that sorting out the issues were the company’s top priority and that they had gone a long way in solving the issues. Bertling expects the issues to be resolved completely by early April 2013.

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 (in or around 2016) and X9 at less than two-year intervals for each.

The plan 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 Aerospace will significantly contribute to this, developing solutions for multi-platform fleet operators and addressing specific market segments.

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