French bank considering legal action over loss in A380 delay-provoked EADS stock slide

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By Helen Massy-Beresford in London

French state-owned bank Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) could take legal action over the loss in value of its 2.25% shareholding in EADS.

CDC, which bought EADS shares in April when shareholder Lagardère cut its own holding from 15% to 7.5%, is not ruling out legal action once the outcome of the investigation launched by French financial regulator Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) into EADS’s share price activity has been concluded.

CDC says it is initially awaiting the results of AMF’s investigation but confirms that legal proceedings against EADS “are possible.” The bank says it is not alone: “we are talking with other investors who have bought shares – this is normal.”

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The bank said at the time of the share purchase that the investment “fits into the strategy of the CDC to invest in companies whose growth potential fits in with its requirements for long-term profitability.”

EADS shares plummeted from over €25 ($35) to a close at €18.73 within a day after the company revealed that further delays to the A380 delivery schedule would wipe €2 billion off the company’s profits in between 2007 and 2010.

EADS’s share price has edged up since, closing at €21.35 on 22 June, but co-chief executive Noël Forgeard, is fighting to cling on to his job in the wake of calls from French politicians for his resignation after it emerged later in the week that Forgeard and members of his family as well as other senior management figures at EADS sold chunks of their shareholdings in March.

Forgeard has denied knowing about the possible production problems at Airbus before mid-April but small shareholder group Association des petits porteurs actifs (Appac) has launched legal procedings accusing EADS executives of insider trading.

Blog:
Read Flight International's editor Murdo Morrison on why Noël Forgeard cannot survive and who might take his place as chief executive of EADS