Jean-Paul Herteman, Safran’s Chairman and CEO | © Eric Drouin
What would you say were the highlights of 2012, which was a particularly rich year for Safran?
It was indeed an exceptional year, financially speaking, with sales of 13.6 billion euros, up 15.5%, and net income of 999 million euros.
From the commercial viewpoint, 2012 was also a record year. The LEAP engine has logged over 4,300 orders and commitments, meaning that we are assured of extending the success story of CFM International, our joint company with GE, for several decades. Meanwhile, the CFM56 keeps going from success to success. Our production and delivery rates set new records in 2012, which will guarantee growth in our service business for many years to come, and this is a source of recurring revenues.
Were trends as positive in all of the Group’s business sectors?
2012 was an excellent vintage in all of our markets. In particular, Safran’s engine, wheels and brakes were selected for Eurocopter’s new-generation X4 helicopter. Our new business jet engine, Silvercrest, was chosen by a second customer, Cessna, for their Citation Longitude. We recorded a number of business wins in the defense and security sectors as well, including a major order for JIM LR binoculars from the British Ministry of Defence, and a five-year general contract from the Transportation Security Administration for explosive detection system to be installed in American airports.
Safran is now firmly established as a pivotal player in all of our business sectors.
Safran has come a long way indeed since the Group was created in 2005! How do you view Safran today?
It’s true that Safran has changed quite a bit. Today, we are a more unified group, capable of pooling everybody’s expertise to benefit all our companies. To give you an example, that’s the aim of the new Safran Composites research center which we started building this year. We are also a more competitive group, in terms of both production and structural costs, thanks to the consolidation of our support functions.
Lastly, we are a more solid group. From this standpoint, we passed major milestones in 2012, including the birth of Herakles, the acquisition of several technology start-ups and the creation of pivotal joint ventures in optronics and safety-critical onboard software and electronics. With the definitive agreement to acquire Goodrich Corporation’s electrical systems business, we will also take a major step forward in our development strategy for electrical technologies. We made significant progress in this area once again in 2012, in particular by continuing the development of an electric taxiing system with our partner Honeywell.
All of these developments make the future look very bright!
We are confident, but we also know that nothing should ever be taken for granted. The keys to our future growth include the continued modernization of our facilities to cope with the ramp-up in production rates and new technologies, an ongoing focus on R&D to pave the way for tomorrow’s successes, attracting new talents and training people so they can realize their full potential, and improving our competitiveness to gain market shares.
To make sure that our growth is sustainable, Safran works with our 62,500 employees to promote exemplary individual behavior in the professional environment. For Safran, industrial excellence also means ethical excellence!