EADS is looking for an outside investor for its Socata business aircraft unit as the manufacturer prepares to roll out the first Garmin G1000 glass cockpit-equipped TBM 850 in Tarbes on 17 January. The single-engine turboprop will be delivered a week later to a US customer in Orlando, Florida.

Alongside regional aircraft maker ATR - which EADS half-owns with Finmeccanica - and conversions and maintenance businesses EFW and Sogerma, Socata has long been an uneasy fit in the European giant's corporate structure. In EADS's latest internal shake-up, the businesses were placed outside the EADS divisions.

Speaking at a new year press confence at the Eurocopter factory in Donauworth, EADS chief executive Loius Gallois said it is "no secret" that the group is "looking for a partner" for Socata, adding that the French business "could develop itself in better condition with a partner better suited to their business".

Source: Flight International