Airbus Helicopters CEO sees flat business in 2016

Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury stands near a multi-role military helicopter EC 725 by Airbus Helicopters at an international military fair in Kielce, southern Poland September 2, 2014. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

SURESNES, Hauts-de-Seine (Reuters) - Airbus Helicopters expects business to remain flat this year after falling orders in 2015 as problems in the oil and gas sector continue to weigh on demand, the head of the unit of Airbus Group AIR.PA, Guillaume Faury, said on Monday.

The world’s biggest maker of civil helicopters saw deliveries drop to 395 in 2015 from 471 in the previous year, while orders fell to 383 from 402 in 2014, Faury told the company’s annual news conference.

“We expect a very low level of orders for helicopters for the oil and gas sector at least for the next two years,” he said, noting overcapacity of heavy helicopters in that industry.

Airbus Helicopters has been hit as oil companies seek to reduce costs following a slump in the price of oil, although customers have delayed rather than canceled orders, according to Faury.

The chief executive added that he hoped to achieve a book-to-bill ratio of more than 1 - indicating growth in business - this year after missing that target last year, banking on delayed military contracts being signed.

Writing by James Regan; editing by Susan Thomas