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India has potential to emerge as global defence production hub

Feb 05 2014, 00:06 IST
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SummaryWe always look forward to participating in DefExpo as it is a premier defence exhibition.

Global aerospace and defence major EADS has rebranded and reorganized to Airbus Group. Ahead of the DefExpo 2014, Huma Siddiqui met with Yves Guillaume, President (India), Airbus Group, to learn more about the change, what it means for the company’s presence in the country and his impression of the Indian defence market. Excerpts:

You began this year with a major announcement. EADS is now Airbus Group. Can you explain the new structure?

Effective January 1, 2014, EADS has rebranded and reorganized to Airbus Group. The Group is now home to three divisions: Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, and Airbus Helicopters. With Airbus, the Group remains a leader in the commercial aircraft market, while Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter) comprises the comm-ercial and military helicopter business. Airbus Defence and Space consolidates our defence and space business from former Cassidian, Airbus Military and Astrium.

What were the reasons behind the restructuring?

With our traditional ‘home markets’ down, we urgently need to improve access to international customers and growth markets. To achieve this, there was a need to cut costs, eliminate products and resource overlaps, create synergies in our operations and product portfolio and better focus our research and development efforts. That’s what the restructuring and integration plan for our defence and space business is all about.

Why did you opt for Airbus as a brand for the entire Group?

Simply because Airbus is our international flagship and by far our most well-known brand worldwide. In India as well, Airbus enjoys excellent brand recognition.

How do you see the change affecting your operations in India?

I strongly believe the new structure and brand will have a positive effect on our presence in India. With the formation of Airbus Defence and Space, we are in a position to offer integrated solutions to our customers here in a more cost-effective manner. Moreover, the ‘Airbus’ brand will improve our visibility and give us better customer access.

The defence market in India has lost some sheen lately on account of delays, economic slowdown and controversies. With elections round the corner, no new deals are expected to be signed. How do you read the situation?

The potential of the Indian defence market is huge. It is still one of the few large and growing economies in the world which is committed to modernising its armed forces. We are enthusiastic about our presence here because we do not see India as purely a market for

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