Talks to sell 3 EADS plants fail

Talks by EADS to sell three German plants to the private equity firm Cerberus and OHB Technology's MT Aerospace unit have collapsed, it's aircraft manufacturing unit Airbus said on Thursday.

Talks to sell 3 EADS plants fail
One of the factories up for sale, in Varel. Photo: DPA

The parties failed to agree on a “viable industrial and financial solution,” the statement said.

The sale of the factories is part of a vast programme to restructure Airbus. The statement quoted Airbus chief executive Tom Enders as saying: “We have always said that we will only go for economically and industrially sound solutions.”

“We want to ensure the future of our sites with strong partners who share technology, development costs and capital investments and are able to deliver large work packages at competitive costs,” he added. “We simply could not get there with OHB.”

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company had said in December that MT Aerospace was its preferred bidder to acquire plants in Nordenham, Varel and Augsburg, Germany, and as recently as last week denied that talks had failed.

Airbus said on Thursday that it would search for other solutions and “in parallel, will proceed with the carve-out of the three sites.”

It blamed financial market volatility and the rise of the euro against the dollar for having created obstacles “to an easy and smooth implementation of this process.”

The site divestment strategy is part of a vast restructuring plan for Airbus dubbed Power8 which involves 10,000 job cuts over four years and the sale of six Airbus factories.

The other sites are in Britain, France and Laupheim, Germany.

“There will be no turning back” from efforts to attain the plan’s goals, Enders said.


Airbus job cuts to hit Germany hardest

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Wednesday urged plane builder Airbus to spread the pain fairly as it cuts 15,000 jobs to deal with lower orders following the coronavirus pandemic.

Airbus job cuts to hit Germany hardest
An Airbus plane departing Leipzig's airport on Wednesday for Rhodes, Greece for the first time since the start of the corona crisis. Photo: DPA

Just like airline giant Lufthansa, which Berlin has stepped in to save with €9 billion of taxpayer cash, “we have an interest that (Airbus) survives the crisis undamaged,” Altmaier said.

Nevertheless, “we assume that the restructuring will proceed in a way that does not favour any country nor disadvantage any country,” he added.


The company had said Tuesday its cuts would fall most heavily on Europe's top economy, with 5,100 positions to go compared with 5,000 in France, 1,700 in Britain and 900 in Spain.

Some 45,600 of Airbus' roughly 135,000 employees worldwide work in Germany, compared with 49,000 in France — meaning the German share of the planned layoffs is higher than the French.

Altmaier also recalled that Berlin was investing around €1 billion in developing quieter low-emissions aircraft, with Airbus among companies eligible for the funds.

Paris reacted more forcefully Tuesday, with the economy ministry blasting the planned Airbus cuts as “excessive” and urging limits on forced departures.

Company bosses have said they will discuss with unions how to achieve the job reductions, with measures including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long-term partial unemployment schemes all on the table.

On Wednesday, Germany partially restarted its travel and tourism industry again. The worldwide travel warning is being lifted for all EU member states as of Wednesday, although a travel warning remains in place for 130 countries until at least August 31st.