Air Transport World

'We are already lean and mean': forced to downsize or perish after the collapse of its parent, Sabena Technics believes there is a place for the smaller independent MRO provider. (M & E).

The many insiders who expected Sabena Technics to follow Sabena's example and go out of business were wrong. The Brussels-based MRO services provider posted revenues of [euro]173 million [$188.5 million] in 2002 and foresees a 15% increase for the current year.

"The first months of 2002 were very difficult, but March was the turning point. In the 12 rolling months from April we secured contracts worth 180 million," CEO and President Peter De Swert tells ATW with satisfaction. "Moreover, we achieved almost breakeven in 2002 and will do so this current year too. In 2004 we should be profitable."

When Sabena was declared officially bankrupt on Nov. 7, 2001, De Swert found himself in an unenviable position. The company of which he had become chief executive in 1998 was left with [euro]150 million in debt, had lost 35% of its revenue base and had virtually no head office functions because IT, audit, legal, financial and human resources all had been concentrated at the group level. …

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