US firm sees India among key markets in aerospace sector

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Nov 25, 2011

Bangalore: US electrical components company Eaton says it sees plenty of opportunities for itself in the country’s unfolding civil and military aerospace story.

Thanks to increased aircraft purchases by the military and domestic airlines, among other factors, India looks set to be one of Eaton’s key markets in the coming years, two senior officials said in email responses to Business Line.

Eaton’s aerospace division globally supplies hydraulics and fuel systems that go into flight control devices of Airbus, Boeing aircraft and many domestic and global military planes.

Mr Joe-Tao Zhou, APAC President, Aerospace Group, Eaton Corporation, said, “India is expected to emerge as one of the largest aviation markets in the world and is likely to be a key market for Eaton’s aerospace products and solutions.”

“India has a significant defence budget. Over the next five years, we see opportunities for Eaton in enabling development of new indigenous platforms and modernisation or replacement of its ageing fleet,” said Mr Einar Johnson, VP – Customer Service & Solutions, Aerospace Group. As domestic carriers looked set to grow, “we see a great opportunity in the commercial segment.”

TIE-UPS

It also saw its opportunity in the new-generation MMRCA fighters that the IAF is close to finalising; and the Jaguar and Mirage upgrade proposals, they said, without elaborating. The components and post-sales market also looked rosy.

Asked if Eaton planned local tie-ups to tap the defence offsets business, the Eaton officials merely said, “We are always open to opportunities in the form of joint ventures or partnerships.” For instance, Eaton recently became the first foreign partner in China’s commercial plane programme, the COMAC C919.

Eaton supplies products for indigenous military aircraft programmes such as the Tejas light fighter, the basic trainer and the light combat helicopter; the civil plane programmes Saras and Hansa. Eaton also supplied for the IAF’s and the Navy’s aircraft that were flying with western military platforms – Jaguar, Sea Harrier, Hawk, Lockheed C130J or the IAF’s VIP plane, the Boeing business jet; and the Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift transport planes.

Mr Johnson said, “[A]lthough we do not have a manufacturing facility for aerospace, we are already present on the Indian skies as we have significant content” on its planes. Its components are on all B737s and A320s that are currently flying, including those operated by domestic airlines.

Sixty per cent of Eaton’s global aerospace sales come from supplying commercial aircraft components and systems. Of late, it has made significant aerospace acquisitions in the West and is increasing the focus on Asia, China, South America and Africa, they said.

The aerospace business, Mr Johnson said, was an important growing segment although currently at a modest level. “With 2010 revenues of $1.5 billion, which amounts to 11 per cent of Eaton’s total sales (of $ 13.7 billion), the aerospace business continues to be a key growth driver for us. With emerging economies, new products and programmes, acquisitions, alliances and energy efficient solutions, we are well-positioned to address the current and evolving needs of the aerospace market.”

Over the past five years, Mr Zhou said it was developing a supplier base for machined parts in India. The India Engineering Centre in Pune provides design and engineering services for old and new systems.

 

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