Laurent Collet-Billon, head of the French DGA procurement agency, had good reason to look pleased with himself this morning and not only because France beat Scotland yesterday at rugby (Collet-Billon is a former top-league rugby player) but because 2009 turned out to be an historic year in the annals of the DGA in terms of orders and exports.
Orders for equipment shot up 123% on the 2008 figure reaching €19.339 billion from €8.673 a year earlier. The lion's share of this (€2.329bn) went to EADS (including missile house MBDA), followed by shipyard DCNS (€1.906bn) and the defense electronics group Thales (€1.470bn).
“These orders mean that some of our defense industries have business visibility up to 2024,” he told journalists at the annual DGA press conference. “In return we expect them to be as competitive as possible,” he added.
The DGA's research investments also rose sharply by 27% to €815 million with Thales being awarded €220 million, followed by EADS with €129 million and state-run labs getting €103 million.
Small and medium enterprises were not forgotten: investments in them rose 78% to €132 million of which €32 million was for R&T.
Exports rose 21% to €7.95 billion and were globally well balanced, the only continent not signing a major export order in 2009 being Australia.
In the Americas there were sales to the United States (IR detectors) and Mexico (EC 125 helicopters), to Peru (Mirage 2000 upgrade) and Brazil (Scorpene submarines).
In Africa there were sales to Angola (tactical radio) and Chad (VAB armored vehicles).
In the Middle East there were sales to Saudi Arabia (multi-role transport tanker MRTT), to Oman (VL Mica missile), to Qatar (Exocet missile) and to Iraq (EC635 helicopters).
In Asia there were sales to Japan (EC 135 helicopters), to Vietnam (EC 225 helicopters) and to Singapore (mine sweeper upgrade).
And in Europe there were sales to Finland and Estonia (GM-400 radar), Albania (Cougar helicopter) and to the UK (upgrade of the Puma helicopter).
“These contracts were worth more than €25 billion without counting tax for the companies involved,” Collet-Billon said
Laurent Collet-Billon, photo credit: DGA