Lima – still a relevant platform

LANGKAWI: The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima) is still a relevant business platform for the aerospace and defence industries.

Despite the impact of the global financial crisis still being felt, RM4.7bil worth of contracts were clinched in five days during the 10th edition that ended Saturday.

It shows that opportunities for future business in the aerospace and defence industries are still promising. Some of these contracts were secured by Malaysian companies, reflecting their growing reputation and global recognition.

Even though the value of contracts during Lima 2009 was lower compared with RM11bil in the previous edition two years ago, the fact that business deals did come through is a reflection of optimism of industry players, locally and internationally.

Malaysian companies especially have shown their true capabilities and gained greater reputation and recognition with many having been awarded contracts by global aerospace and defence companies like BAE Systems and Boeing.

Composite Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd, for example, has a current order book of RM2.8bil from various customers to manufacture Airbus and Boeing parts.

Surely, the company will not stop there as former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has thrown them a new challenge – to create, design and build a cheaper single-seater aircraft based on the Eagle 130B aircraft frame which the company has successfully manufactured.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysian companies had shown their true capability with the introduction of new products such as unmanned aerial vehicles. This, he said, could further strengthen the industry and help support LIMA 2011 to become a defence industry hub for Asean.

Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology senior vice-president (intelligence and research) Lt Col (R) Kamarulzaman Zainal said Malaysia had the capacity to become a regional aerospace centre by 2015 since the country was now well equipped with all the basic requirements to be a major regional player.

Despite the global economic slowdown, he said, the local aerospace industry was forecast to grow at a comfortable rate of about 8% next year due to the expansion of the aero-manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul sub-sectors.

He said the industry’s turnover was expected to increase to RM26bil this year from RM25bil last year despite the global economic slowdown.

The pressure of lowering production and operating costs due to the global economic slowdown would further promote more new investments and outsourcing activities in Malaysia, he added.

Malaysia had attracted more than 13 foreign aerospace investments between 2006 and 2008, including the plan by a first tier manufacturer to establish their business in the country. — Bernama

The total value of new and reinvestment projects during the period was more than RM1.4bil with a threefold increase seen from 2007 to about RM990mil in 2008.

Since 1991, LIMA has emerged as the premier destination for aerospace and maritime players, targeting the Asia-Pacific market in the civil, defence and enforcement sectors. — Bernama

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