Japan Boeing supplier warms up to Airbus

21/03/2008 - 9:14
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KYOTO, Japan (Reuters) - Japanese analytical instruments and airplane components maker Shimadzu Corp <7701.T> has held preliminary talks with representatives of Airbus Industrie after repeated delays in plane deliveries at client Boeing Co .

Japan's defense budget cuts have hurt Shimadzu's aircraft equipment business, prompting it to go after orders for control systems at U.S. plane maker Boeing. But Shimadzu's president said on Friday that the company now needs to expand its client base.

While its shipments to Boeing are still small, an expected delay on Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner would not help matters, President Shigehiko Hattori said.

"Initial research costs are huge in the airline business and returns don't come in until seven years later," he told reporters following a news conference about the company's mid-term plan. "Delays hurt."

Shimadzu officials including Hattori have met with the head of Airbus's Japan unit, he said, without providing further details.

Airbus, which hopes to supply aircraft to Japan Airlines Corp <9205.T> and All Nippon Airways <9202.T>, has said it aims to procure more parts from Japanese companies.

Shimadzu expects total sales to rise 13 percent in three years to 320 billion yen ($3.22 billion) in the year ending March 2011 on demand for medical systems and spectrometers.

But it said airplane equipment sales would fall 17.7 percent to 24.7 billion yen in the year ending March 2011, compared with its forecast for the year ending this month.

Shares of Shimadzu closed up 1.3 percent at 932 yen, slightly behind the pace of the benchmark Nikkei share average <.N225>, which gained 1.8 percent.

(Reporting by Mayumi Negishi; editing by Gary Crosse)

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