EADS discusses future shareholding structure

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Airbus parent EADS is discussing a potential change in its shareholding structure, but has yet to disclose any details on new ownership.

A statement early on 3 December confirms that talks are taking place and that the company is "participating actively in such discussions" with the support of its board of directors.

It says the talks have the objective to "preserve and enhance, where appropriate, the interests of all stakeholders, including shareholders, clients and employees".

For several months there has been speculation in various media that Germany's Daimler and France's Lagardere are keen to reduce or divest their shareholdings, with the support of EADS chief executive Tom Enders and senior management. But Berlin and Paris have been concerned about the loss of national sovereignity that such a move would entail.

Daimler and an entity made up of Lagardere and the French government each own 22.5% of EADS. Together with a small Spanish government shareholding, their stake amounts to just over 50%. The remaining EADS shares are free floated or owned by small institutions under special arrangements.

In November, an attempt to merge EADS with the UK's BAE Systems fell through.

EADS says the discussed structure changes are "likely to require the approval" of shareholders and "there can be no certainty that these discussions will be conclusive". It says it will make a further announcement "as appropriate".