Flight International online news 08:00GMT: European aerospace giant EADS has reportedly been actively lobbying the French government in recent weeks in an attempt to prevent merger target Thales linking up with French state-owned shipyard DCN.
According to French business newspaper La Tribune, EADS remains committed to an eventual merger with the French electronics business Thales although both EADS co-CEO Noel Forgeard and co-chairman Manfred Bischoff do not want the aerospace business to play a major role in any consolidation of the European naval industry.
France’s state-owned shipbuilder DCN and Thales last month announced plans to establish a joint company – in which DCN will hold a 65% stake and Thales 35% - to lead France's future aircraft carrier project, if the partners are awarded the contract by the French Government.
Reports have suggested Thales could go on to acquire as much as 30% of DCN in exchange for a €400 million cash injection.
La Tribune says that despite EADS's protest over the possible equity link up, a merger of EADS and Thales still has the French Government's backing.
The newspaper also says it has learned that both EADS and Thales will figure on the shortlist to acquire BAE Systems’ Atlas Elektronik, a German group specialized in submarine warfare.
EADS declined to comment on any EADS lobbying activity but did say: "EADS has always said it sees itself as a driver of European consolidation, wants to grow its defence business and its CEOs have said on various occasions that it would make sense to integrate some parts of Thales with EADS's defence business as they would be complementary."