Eurocopter Profitable Despite Economic Turbulence

 - March 16, 2010, 12:38 PM

Helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter stayed in the black last year, with €263 million ($360 million) in pre-tax earnings, according to financial results released last week by parent company EADS, although its operating margin slid from 6.5 percent in 2008 to 5.8 percent last year. In January, CEO Lutz Bertling had disclosed several figures but not earnings, saying only that he was “more than satisfied” with the pre-tax earnings given the difficult economic environment. Competitor AgustaWestland reported €371 million ($508 million) in earnings and 10.7 percent operational margin last year. From EADS’s results, it also transpired that Eurocopter spent €164 million ($225 million) in research and development last year, trumpeting its innovation at Heli-Expo last month in Houston. AgustaWestland spent twice as much–€328 million ($450 million)–in R&D last year. This year, Eurocopter’s R&D spending should be close to €200 million ($274 million), the helicopter manufacturer said. The company is allocating part of this to the X4, a still-to-be-launched Dauphin replacement in the 9,000- to 11,000-pound category.