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From SME to major player in aeronautics: the impressive growth of Daher in 25 years


The family ETI launches its transformation plan which should allow it to join the club of the 50 largest aeronautical companies in the world. An aircraft manufacturer and equipment supplier, the company created a new entity dedicated to industrial services, on the occasion of the acquisition of...

Small business will become big, provided it is well managed and knows how to adapt.

Daher, which will celebrate its 160th anniversary at the Paris Air Show next June, is a good example of this.

From an SME, with a turnover of 70 million euros in France and 400 employees in 1998, it has transformed into an ETI (Intermediate-sized company) with 1.3 billion in sales, with 12,000 employees in 2022. And “

we want to enter, with more than 2 billion in revenue before 2027, the club of the fifty largest aeronautical companies in the world

”, announces Didier Kayat, its managing director.

And, this, while remaining a family business (the Daher family controls 87.5% of the capital; the balance is in the hands of BpiFrance) with an atypical profile.

Because Daher is the European leader in general aviation, with TBM business jets built in Europe and Kodiaks, assembled in the United States, but also a leading equipment supplier, present on programs as varied as the Airbus A320 , A330, A350, the Boeing KC-46 tanker and the Falcon business jets and the French Rafale combat aircraft built by Dassault Aviation, as well as a leader in logistics (transport of parts, satellites, etc. and management of warehouses).

The group announces, this Tuesday, the creation of a new entity, dedicated to the provision of industrial services on the occasion of the acquisition of 3A, a specialized family SME, which brings it 200 million additional sales.

3A has contracts with major aircraft manufacturers and has developed its business in Europe, Canada, the United States, Asia (China), the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Its activity is complementary to ours and allows us to double in size in services

”, explains the managing director.

The acquisition, which should be finalized next May, once it has obtained the green light from the competition authorities.

Disruption in the supply chain

By combining internal and external growth, via targeted acquisitions (in particular Socata and the TBM program at Airbus in 2009, Quest Aircraft, manufacturer of Kodiaks in 2019), the company has developed a balanced model between its industrial activities and services.

By 2027, as part of its new strategic plan, called "Take-Off", its turnover should be distributed equally between its four businesses, each weighing around 500 million in sales.

It is this model that has enabled it to cushion the health crisis from which it has suffered less than other players in the sector such as Latécoère or Figeac.

2022 was the year of the rebound with a historic level of deliveries, at 73 aircraft, including 56 TBM and 17 Kodiak.


We could have produced forty more because the demand is there.

But we have been slowed down by the disruptions that affect our entire supply chain, particularly the most fragile ones, whose delivery rate per hour is very low

 ”, underlines Didier Kayat.

Like Airbus and Boeing, Daher has evolved in a difficult environment marked by inflation, shortages of certain raw materials and the disorganization of supply chains.

Despite this, the ETI has “

made its 2022 budget

 ”, sums up the general manager.

But we missed our profitability target by 1 point, with a 1% lower margin compared to that of 2019, before the Covid crisis.


Last year, the company which repaid its 170 million State Guaranteed Loan (PGE) in full, refinanced its credit lines in March 2022, “

just when interest rates were starting to rise

 ” , notes Didier Kayat.

This gives it a visibility of five to seven years.

2022 also marked the company's breakthrough in the United States, after the acquisition of an aerostructure parts factory in Florida from the Triumph group.

“In the United States, we are now present in three businesses: aircraft, equipment and logistics.

We make a third of our turnover there and Boeing has become a more important customer than Airbus”

, sums up the managing director.

1,100 recruitments planned for 2023

Daher is therefore ready to go higher, as provided for in the “take-off” plan.

To this end, the company has set itself five objectives.

Improve its profitability in order to protect itself from future crises and to remain in control of its destiny.

Invest more massively in CSR topics (social and environmental responsibility), and in particular decarbonization.

We believe it is possible to be the first aircraft manufacturer to launch a small low-carbon aircraft, before 2027. Since 2022, all our TBMs have been flying with 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

, explains Didier Kayat.

Daher is continuing its work on clean aircraft, within the framework of the EcoPulse program, in partnership with Airbus and Safran, and is accelerating its research plan via its three technocentres


The group also works at

"its managerial culture"

and the integration of its acquisitions.

And, finally, he wants to strengthen his notoriety.

If only to become more attractive to young graduates.

"This year, we plan to recruit 1,100 people and we believe that the values ​​of our company are consistent with the search for meaning of the new generations"

, insists the managing director.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2023-02-07

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