Record Order Book for High-Flying Hampsons; AEROSPACE with a Growing Share of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Programme, Hampson Industries Has Seen Its Order Book Reach Record Levels

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Byline: By John Duckers Business Editor

Black Country aerospace group Hampson Industries is flying high as orders continue to pour in.

The Brierley Hill-based company, which also has a manufacturing operation in Birmingham, said demand in its core markets had remained "very buoyant" as it feasts off the success of Airbus and Boeing.

It told the Stock Exchange in an interim management statement: "With 2,876 orders for new commercial aircraft taken by Airbus and Boeing, 2007 has been a record year for order intake in the aerospace industry.

"Orders have now been placed for over 6,900 new aircraft in the last three years. At December 31, the combined order book of Airbus and Boeing stood at 6,848 aircraft, an increase of 37 per cent compared to the same position in 2006, and a 14 per cent increase since September.

"With seven and a half years of work now in backlog, OEM production rates are set to continue to rise progressively over the next two years.

"In these buoyant market conditions, the group's aerospace portfolio has, as expected, extended its strong first half performance."

Hampson said each of its aerospace businesses had generated improved operating performance.

In particular, CHI, the specialist high temperature composites business acquired in January last year, had "continued to perform at levels above pre-acquisition expectations".

With a growing share of the F-35 joint strike fighter programme, it had has seen its order book reach record levels.

Hampson added: "Increasing the group's exposure to the trend towards increased use of composite structures remains a key strategic growth priority.

"Demand in the global commercial aerospace market is expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future. Military aerospace demand is also expected to remain robust. Against this background, the group's principal aerospace businesses are expected to continue to perform strongly. …