Eurocopter, the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer, which has a significant share in the Indian market, wants to have a greater piece of the pie. Marie Agnes Veve, CEO, India, tells Praveen Bose they are trying to increase their engagement with the Indian companies. Edited excerpts:
How are your engagements with Indian industry going? Our relationship with India began with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). It is a historic one which we seek to strengthen. While they have manufactured some composite materials for us, we will soon set up a command joint-working group with them. We will also sign memorandum of understandings in a couple of months.
What about the development centre here? We will expand our engagement in the country through sourcing and engineering and follow the Airbus experience. India has a lot of potential in terms of universities and engineering schools. We see a great opportunity for Eurocopter for civilians in terms of industrial co-operation and plan to develop engineering centres for Eurocopter here. We have tie ups with Mahindra and HAL. We also have links with the Tatas.
You recently tied up with Mahindra. Will there be any duplication of the activity with HAL? Mahindra is a new partner. We want to engage in some manufacturing activities with them. They will help us develop corporate market and electronic manufacturing services (EMS) market and commercial market. So, there will be no duplication with the work we do with HAL. HAL is an integrator. Mahindra is starting this activity.
So, there will be no overlap or conflict of interest. Mahindra has clear strategy to develop these activities such as manufacturing parts and parts for aeronautics.
Which segments will they address? It's only the civilian market that they will address. For instance, a piece of structure will be for helicopter that can be used in civilian and in defence sector. This is part of a wider plan to make India a sourcing hub. The parts go into the global supply chain for the worldwide market.
How significant is the Indian civilian market for helicopters? Though small today, it is growing with the development of corporate, police & law, disaster management, ambulance among others. In India, there are about 250 civilian helicopters. We control 30 per cent of this market. Our target is to capture 50 per cent of this market by 2015.
Civil defence and law enforcement seems to be a fast-growing market. How do you foresee this helping you? Today, we have about 75 per cent of the market share in this segment. All these models are equipped with necessary camera, search and communication. All equipment are certified on the helicopter models. So, they fit with the needs of India.
How are the composite manufacturing programmes going? We export the composite parts manufactured here to France for assembling. We are starting several other activities related to this. We have signed MoUs though we have no joint ventures.