Past strategic action on the part of Diehl’s management continues to boost the firm’s results. Most notably, during the Great Recession, Diehl responded quickly to opportunities, snapping up an Airbus interiors facility, which reshaped the company’s aerospace market presence.
More recently, Diehl has consolidated its commercial aerospace operations under a single banner, Diehl Aviation. Under its “We Are One” initiative, the company rebranded Diehl Aircabin, Diehl Comfort Modules and Apparatebau Gauting under the Diehl Aviation aegis. Diehl Aerospace – a joint venture with Thales – retains its established name and remains an important part of Diehl Aviation. The combination aims to unify the firm’s aerospace cabin interiors offerings into a more streamlined, one-stop shop for customers.
With both Airbus and Boeing production at record highs, Diehl Aviation is expected to be pulling multiple shifts for some time to come. Diehl Aviation is benefiting from a steady supply of subcontract work – so much so that the company’s sales have almost doubled in the past five years.
This growth in aerospace also mirrors success in the firm’s diverse markets, such as metals, controls, and metering. As these commercial markets benefit from improvements in the economy, they will help to counter declines in the defense industry – which may be only temporary thanks to conflicts both old and new around the globe.
In military markets, Diehl is a relatively small niche player that must fight hard for its share of domestic defense funds. Further, as companies look abroad for growth, the increased competition for export sales has been fierce. Due to German export constraints, it is extremely difficult for Diehl to make up for lost defense sales at home with revenue from abroad. This restriction is slowly changing, though, and Diehl is involved in several competitions to supply missile systems to Germany’s neighbors.
As the company seeks growth for its defense unit, it will look to expand into areas such as reconnaissance, force protection, training, and simulation. Diehl will also hunt for additional opportunities in unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems, robotics, and biosensors, as well as in the homeland security sector.
For the over 15 years, Richard has authored Forecast International’s Defense & Aerospace Companies series, Volume I (North America) and Volume II (International) services. The two books provide detailed outlines and analyses of major aerospace and defense contractors.