West Midlands-based aerospace parts supplier Umeco yesterday sounded an upbeat note about Airbus and US rival Boeing's major aircraft programmes and prospects for the civil aerospace market, as it reported encouraging trading since October 1 in-line with expectations.
Umeco, which has its headquarters at Leamington Spa, said it does not expect Boeing's recent announcement of delays in the first flight of its 787 Dreamliner to affect its medium term performance materially. Longer term prospects for the 787 programme remain strong, it said in a trading statement.
Umeco said the A380 superjumbo programme of EADS' subsidiary Airbus, which has suffered production delays in the last 18 months, is now proceeding at as expected. At the end of December, Airbus and Boeing had an order backlog of more than 6,800 aircraft, having collectively delivered 894 jets in 2007. Deliveries in 2008 are forecast to rise by eight per cent to more than 960 aircraft.
"Long term prospects for the civil aerospace market overall remain strong as a result of the high level of economic growth in the Middle East, Far East and China, and the replacement programmes being implemented by western carriers," Umeco said in its statement.
Umeco, which signed a major extension of its parts supply contract with Derby-based jet engine maker Rolls-Royce in November last year, said group order intake continues to be strong and was 23 per cent ahead of revenue in the four months to January 31.
"This reflects the continuing growth in demand for the group's products and services, demonstrated by the extended relationship with Rolls-Royce announced in November," Umeco said.
Umeco added that there had been volatility in exchange rates and fluctuations in interest rates in the period from October 1, although these factors were not expected to materially affect the group's results for the year to March 31, 2008.
"In summary, Umeco has enjoyed another encouraging period of trading performance and the outlook remains very positive," it said.
The group said its composites division continued to trade very strongly, reflecting the ongoing growth in use of advanced composite materials in a number of markets.
The company's UK operation is performing particularly well at the moment.
Its US business continues to experience lower demand due to specific external issues at two of its customers, but these are now showing some signs of recovery.
Umeco's aerospace components supply business has also seen strong demand from original equipment manufacturers, particularly in the UK, although operations in France have not yet attained critical mass, it said.
The group added that a new £7.1 million freehold site in Derby, which was set up to handle the extended contract with Rolls, is now open. It said orders arising from the contract extension are at expected levels, and that the contract timeframe had also been extended by a further five years to December 2015.