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EADS Unveils New Shareholding Structure

Dec. 5, 2012 - 12:37PM   |  
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PARIS — The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), which owns the civilian aircraft maker Airbus, said Dec. 5 that its shareholders have agreed on a new structure that will leave France and Germany each with 12-percent stakes and Spain with 4.0 percent.

The new framework is set to make EADS much more independent of its state shareholders, allowing it to operate like “a normal company,” according to analysts who tracked a closed-door presentation by the aerospace group early this week in London.

A statement issued immediately afterward by the French presidency said the deal would “guarantee the interests of the French, German and Spanish states within the group.”

But it would also give EADS “the freedom of movement it needs to pursue its development,” the statement added.

EADS also said that it would buy back up to 15 percent of its free-floating capital in the first half of next year.

Shares in the company jumped by 2.46 percent to 27.73 euros on the Paris stock exchange, which closed before the announcement with a gain of 0.28 percent overall.

Officials in Paris and Berlin have been in talks for several months on how to handle the exits of key EADS shareholders Daimler, the German automaker, and Lagardere, a French conglomerate, which were set to shake up a structure set up in July 2000 that also includes Spain.

EADS was created from the merger of the German defense company DASA, France’s Aerospatiale-Matra and Spain’s CASA.

EADS, which is officially registered in the Netherlands, is active in building satellites, rocket launchers, helicopters and defense systems in addition to its main unit, Airbus.

The group recently tried to seal a merger with the British defense group BAE Systems, but that deal, said to be worth $45 billion (34 billion euros), fell through, reportedly owing to German concern that it would be sidelined within the merged entity.

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