• Germany edition
 
Berlin and Paris revamp strategic EADS holdings
Photo: DPA

Berlin and Paris revamp strategic EADS holdings

Published: 06 Dec 2012 10:56 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Dec 2012 10:56 GMT+01:00

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), which owns plane maker Airbus, has unveiled a deal to restructure shareholdings meant to reduce the role of France and Germany but preserve their strategic interests.

The agreement will leave France and Germany each with 12-percent holdings and Spain with about 4.0 percent, a statement said, as the German automaker Daimler and French conglomerate Lagardere curtailed their own key stakes. The deal is designed to allow EADS to function as an aerospace giant independent of intrusive government influence, and could pave the way for future growth.

"This agreement aims at normalising and simplifying the governance of EADS while securing a shareholding structure that allows France, Germany and Spain to protect their legitimate strategic interests," an EADS statement said.

Chief executive Tom Enders told a telephone news conference that the deal represents "the most important change since the creation of EADS 12 years ago."

Enders emphasised that no shareholder will be able to "directly or indirectly appoint board members," to show how "government influence and capacity to interfere in the company will recede."

EADS added that it would buy back up to 15 percent of its free-floating capital in the first half of next year, subject to market conditions, a move that would underpin the share price as Daimler and Lagardere sold their stakes.

EADS shares jumped by 2.46 percent to €27.73 on the Paris stock exchange, which closed before the announcement was made with a gain of 0.28 percent overall.

The agreement allows for the percentage of freely floating EADS shares to jump from 49 percent at present to more than 70 percent, the group said. A statement issued by the French presidency emphasised that the deal would "guarantee the interests of the French, German and Spanish states within the group."

It would also give EADS "the freedom of movement it needs to pursue its development," the French statement said, while underscoring that the group's headquarters would stay in Toulouse, southern France.

EADS chief strategy and marketing officer Marwan Lahoud remarked that "moving the operational headquarters of the company is an operational decision" that "is decided by the board of directors."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the agreement meanwhile, saying in 1a statement that as a result, "the Franco-German partnership within EADS can advance in a balanced manner. The spirit that existed when the group was founded is thus respected."

EADS was created in July 2000 via a merger of the German defence company DASA, France's Aerospatiale-Matra and the Spanish group CASA.

According to the French presidency's statement, the new agreement "reinforces the protection of the nation's strategic defence interests via a specific agreement between EADS and the French state" that is expected to cover the group's ballistic missile activities.

Sources close to French Economy Minister Pierre Moscovici highlighted a clause that would bar any new EADS shareholder from acquiring a holding of more than 15 percent.

Paris would also have a priority to buy shares in the French aerospace company Dassault, in which EADS owns a stake of 46 percent, should they be put up for sale.

Officials in Paris and Berlin have been exploring how to handle the exits of Daimler and Lagardere from EADS shareholding structure, a development that shakes up the original equity framework.

According to the EADS statement, the "present shareholder pact (is) expected to be replaced by a normal company governance scheme." EADS, which is registered in the Netherlands, builds satellites, rocket launchers, helicopters and defence systems in addition to its main unit, Airbus.

The group recently tried to seal a tie up with the British defence group BAE Systems, but the talks fell through, reportedly owing to German concern that it would be sidelined within the merged entity.

Britain was said to be concerned about undue state influence over what would have become the world's biggest aerospace and defence group.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ex-minister jailed over F1 race track scandal
Ingolf Deubel in court on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Ex-minister jailed over F1 race track scandal

A former state finance minister was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday, having been found guilty of embezzling money in the scandal around the failed sale of the Nürburgring Formula One race track. READ () »

Upper Bavaria boasts lowest EU unemployment
A Bavarian worker works hard Photo: DPA

Upper Bavaria boasts lowest EU unemployment

Southern and central Bavaria have the lowest unemployment in the EU, according to figures released on Tuesday, with one business leader boasting the area has “de facto full employment”. READ () »

Thousands of tax evaders come forward to declare
Uli Hoeneß was jailed last month for tax evasion. Photo: DPA

Thousands of tax evaders come forward to declare

The number of German tax evaders who have self-declared to avoid prosecution trebled in the first quarter of 2014, figures published on Wednesday showed, with the rise put down to the "Uli Hoeneß effect". READ () »

Petition fails to remove WWII Russian tanks
One of the WWII Russian tanks near the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA

Petition fails to remove WWII Russian tanks

The German government rejected on Wednesday a call by two newspapers to remove Russian tanks from a World War II memorial in central Berlin in protest against spiralling tensions in Ukraine. READ () »

Germany warns Ukraine talks must not fail
A Ukrainian policeman at a checkpoint in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Germany warns Ukraine talks must not fail

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday that scheduled four-way talks on the Ukraine crisis must not fail, warning of "the threat of more dead and injured". READ () »

Olympic stadium could be giant polling station
Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Photo: DPA

Olympic stadium could be giant polling station

Berlin's Olympic stadium could become the world's biggest polling station if the Turkish community gets the go-ahead to vote there in Turkey’s general elections. READ () »

The Local List
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: DPA

Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German

From rolling wheels filled with burning hay down a hill, to waiting for a fox to bring eggs, The Local List this week looks at the nine best German Easter traditions. READ () »

Biology pupils find horse in kebab meat test
Horse? Photo: DPA

Biology pupils find horse in kebab meat test

Schoolchildren in western Germany came across horse meat while testing doner kebabs in a biology experiment. It comes a year after the horse meat scandal which showed much meat on sale in Europe had been mislabelled. READ () »

Private health insurance not worth it for workers
Photo: DPA

Private health insurance not worth it for workers

Thousands of employees paying into private health insurance in Germany get poor value for money, according to consumer experts - who recommend going private for just one group of workers. READ () »

'Free range' chicken farmer tricks customers
Free range? Photo: DPA

'Free range' chicken farmer tricks customers

UPDATE: A major producer of ethically certifified meat has admitted to defrauding thousands of customers for years by passing off conventional chicken as free range. But the brand said it took swift action to deal with the case. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Advertisement:
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,115
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd