BAE Systems has taken a further step towards the sale of its 20% stake in Airbus to EADS, with the issuance of a Put Option Intention Notice.

Under the Airbus Shareholders Agreement signed in 2001, the move will mean BAE is able to formally exercise its put option, although it will not be obliged to do so. EADS says the issuance marks a "new phase" in the discussions.

"At this point, there can be no certainty as to the result of this phase, however the negotiations will now be governed by the guidelines within the Airbus Shareholders Agreement," says EADS.

BAE said last month that it intends to sell its 20% stake in the aircraft manufacturer, which EADS estimates to have a value of around €3.5 billion ($4.2 billion.)

Source: Flight International