• Germany's news in English
 

Berlin and Paris revamp strategic EADS holdings

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

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram
The world's roundest sphere. Photo: DPA

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram

The German Nation Metrology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig has set itself the enormous task of finding a new formula for measuring a kilogram. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day
Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day

Germanwings said on Friday that it had no knowledge of a doctor-signed sick note found by investigators at flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's flat. READ  

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation
Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation

Update: After German tabloid Bild reported that Germany's least-favourite Greek minister Yanis Varoufakis was considering resigning, the minister rejected the story on Twitter. READ  

Germany to expand disability rights
Photo: DPA

Germany to expand disability rights

A representative of the German Labour Ministry went before a UN Committee on Friday to discuss the government's plan for improved rights for disabled people. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral
Photo: DPA

Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral

A Facebook post describing how a Germanwings pilot personally reassured his passengers of their safety on a flight on Wednesday has received over quarter of a million likes. READ  

Bundestag passes 'foreigner toll' for roads
Photo: DPA

Bundestag passes 'foreigner toll' for roads

The Bundestag (German parliament) passed a hugely controversial law on Friday which will charge foreigners for the use of German roads. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Airlines agree two-person cockpit rule
Photo: DPA

Airlines agree two-person cockpit rule

The Federation of the German Air Travel Industry (BDL) confirmed on Friday afternoon that from now on two people must be in the cockpit at all times, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the Germanwings disaster. READ  

Germany urgently needs immigrants: study
Spanish immigrants in Germany. Photo: DPA

Germany urgently needs immigrants: study

A study by the Bertelsmann Institute found on Friday that Germany will need around half a million new immigrants every year until 2050 to maintain its work force. READ  

Bundesbank tough, public soft on Greece
Jens Weidmann, head of the Bundesbank. Photo: DPA

Bundesbank tough, public soft on Greece

Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann said on Friday that he is opposed to giving Greece further financial help because he believes the new government has frittered away too much trust, but a new poll showed that support for a "Grexit" had shrunk below 50 percent. READ  

Town flocks to mourn lost schoolchildren
A black ribbon on a sign in Haltern, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Town flocks to mourn lost schoolchildren

President Joachim Gauck arrived in Haltern on Friday to join families and schoolchildren mourning the loss of their classmates and teachers in the Germanwings flight 4U9525 crash. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

7,141
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd