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Eurocopter to float subsidiary for India operations

Hyderabad, March 2 (Calcutta Tube) Eurocopter, the global leader in helicopter manufacturing, is to float an Indian subsidiary and is also looking at the possibility of setting up an assembly unit in this country.

Company officials told reporters Tuesday that it would set also set up an engineering centre and sign contracts with various Indian companies for manufacturing helicopter components.

Eurocopter, which is participating in Indian Aviation 2010 beginning here Wednesday, also announced that it would establish an MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) facility in Delhi or Mumbai under a joint venture with Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited.

Under a second joint venture, Eurocopter will start a pilot training facility with a full-flight simulator.

Both the 50:50 JVs, to be signed at Indian Aviation, will be fully created by the end of 2010.

‘The MRO facility will serve the huge Dauphin fleet being operated in India as well as in other South Asian countries,’ said Marie-Agnes Veve, Eurocopter’s vice president and head of India operations.

South Asia has a fleet of 60 Dauphins, including 34 in India. The majority of these 12-seater choppers operate in the oil and gas sectors.

Eyeing the growing Indian market, the company is planning to set up a dedicated organisation like a subsidiary to look after its India operations. ‘The announcement will be made in couple of months,’ Veve said.

The firm is keen to focus on industrial activity like sourcing and manufacturing of components and equipment and engineering services. It plans to sign 40 to 50 MoUs with various Indian companies including Tata, Mahindra and L&T for this purpose.

‘We will be focussing on aero structures, IT, engineering and components. There is also a possibility of assembling the copters in India,’ said, Rainer Farid, Eurocopter’s vice president for customer support (Asia-Pacific).

Eurocopter plans to establish an engineering centre on the lines of the one launched by its sister company Airbus in Bangalore. ‘Most probably our engineering centre will come up in Bangalore,’ he added.

He said the firm was also looking at the huge opportunities in India’s defence sector.

‘The helicopter fleet of the Indian Air Force, the Indian Army and the Indian Navy need to be replaced as it has become obsolete and this provides opportunities for us,’ he said.

The company has also sought time for fielding choppers for defence trials as its Tiger Attack helicopter is undergoing upgradation tests which will be completed by the end of this year.

Eurocopter currently has a fleet of 76 civil helicopters flying in India. It covers about 50 percent of the oil and gas segment, with a majority of its aircraft being in service with Pawan Hans and Indocopters.

The company, which has a 30 percent share in the Indian helicopter market, delivered seven choppers out of the 10 booked in 2009 and expects 11 to 15 bookings and 10 deliveries this year.

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