Safran CEO sees strong civil market, declines comment on mandate

PARIS, April 23 Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:07am EDT

PARIS, April 23 (Reuters) - Safran expects "very solid" orders for engines and other equipment in 2014 amid robust activity in the commercial aircraft market, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Jean-Paul Herteman also said the French group was continuing to work on a possible purchase of Italy's Avio Spazio, but had no further plans for acquisitions in the United States beyond completion of the $270 million purchase of a division from Eaton Corp, expected in the first half.

British private equity fund Cinven wants to sell its 81 percent stake in Italian space propulsion company Avio and has said several buyers, including Safran, have expressed interest. Airbus Group is also seen as a bidder.

There has been speculation about whether Herteman would seek to remain chief executive of partially state-owned French aerospace group Safran when his mandate expires in May 2015. Such a decision would require a change in retirement age.

Herteman said there was no proposal to discuss this at the company's annual meeting on May 27 this year, but declined to comment during a conference call with journalists on whether he would like to stay beyond the 2015 shareholder meeting. (Reporting by Tim Hepher and Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by James Regan)