24-Feb-2010 Source: American Eurocopter
American Eurocopter is ready to build on its strong performance of 2009, during which the company led the U.S. market in civil turbine helicopter deliveries and logged robust new order bookings despite the economic turndown.
Speaking to journalists at the Heli-Expo 2010 trade show in Houston, Texas, President and CEO Marc Paganini said American Eurocopter is â€œreaping the benefitsâ€ of its long-term strategy, which is based on three principles: creating business stability through a wide sales mix of its rotary-wing products; remaining a stable supplier to customers; and retaining a strong commitment to the companyâ€™s employees.
American Eurocopter had another year of revenue growth last year, registering a turnover of $784 million â€“ up from $780 in 2008. It delivered 155 civil turbine helicopters in 2009, with the company taking a U.S. market leadership position in the air medical, law enforcement and aerial tourism sectors.
â€œDespite a significant downturn in the U.S. commercial market, American Eurocopter was able to increase its market share in 2009, which demonstrated the competitiveness of our products,â€ Paganini told reporters at Eurocopterâ€™s Heli-Expo 2010 breakfast press briefing. â€œFor our government business, we have a healthy order book, which includes the U.S. Armyâ€™s continuing orders for UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters.â€
He said the companyâ€™s overall strength is due to the stability of its broad business base â€“ which benefits from a wide product mix across the various civil market segments, as well as a solid federal government business, and revenues from the companyâ€™s support of a large active helicopter fleet in the U.S.
American Eurocopterâ€™s share of the U.S. civil and para-public markets was 52.4 percent in 2009, extending the leadership role it has held since 2001. For government sales, the company continues to demonstrate its role as a trusted supplier to the U.S. Defense Department with on-schedule deliveries of the U.S. Armyâ€™s UH-72A Lakota.
A sustained emphasis also is continuing on Eurocopterâ€™s support and services, with substantial investments in resources, facilities, software and staff training. This includes more than $1 million invested in the new Customer Service and Fleet Operations Center at American Eurocopterâ€™s Grand Prairie, Texas, headquarters, which has significantly increased the companyâ€™s responsiveness to customers.
American Eurocopterâ€™s goal is to provide full service and support for the entire range of Eurocopter helicopter products flying in the United States, Paganini said. To achieve this, it has created in-country maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities for the EC135 and EC145, along with training services for pilots and mechanics. The scope will be expanded in 2010 and beyond, including the installation of a full-motion AS350 flight simulator at Grand Prairie in September, joining an EC135/EC145 flight simulator that has been operational since 2008.
Paganini said this reflects the parent Eurocopter groupâ€™s successful global strategy of establishing a close proximity to customers in key markets, and it also has included the creation of an assembly line at American Eurocopterâ€™s Columbus, Mississippi facility for the UH-72A Lakota â€“ which is based on the EC145 helicopter built by Eurocopter in Germany.
â€œWe have met our commitments to the U.S. Army by successfully transferring UH-72A production from Germany to the United States, where we are now fully assembling the Lakota in Mississippi,â€ he explained. â€œWe are nearing the official 100th delivery, which will be marked on March 4, with all UH-72As provided so far being delivered on cost, on quality and on time.â€
Paganini said another aspect of the companyâ€™s success comes from American Eurocopterâ€™s strategy of being a stable supplier to customers, which means providing a reliable supply source for its helicopters, along with stability in prices and services.
â€œIn addition, we have maintained our commitment to American Eurocopterâ€™s employees, who are our best asset,â€ he concluded. â€œWe did not have to lay off anyone during this economic downturn; instead, the company is continuing to hire, and we are making it a priority to invest in employee training.â€