Tim Ripley

French, German and Spanish aerospace chiefs will take control of Airbus Industrie, reducing BAE Systems to minority partners in the European airframe manufacturer, it was said at the show yesterday.

Aerospatiale Matra chief executive Philippe Camus declared: "We shall have control," and that Airbus should become a part of European Aeronautic Defense and Space (EADS).

Camus, to be one of the dual chief executives of EADS, being formed in a merger with DaimlerChrysler (Dasa) and CASA, said that the three partners have formally proposed this to BAE Systems. He says that the resulting 20% for BAE Systems is the "natural" level.

BAE Systems refused to be drawn on the subject, with a spokesman commenting that discussions were continuing with their partners and that the British company wanted to remain a "major" player in the Airbus business.


"They will have rights but we shall be in charge of Airbus - 20% is not 50%, BAE Systems will be a shareholder."

Camus says that the discussions with BAE Systems do not concern adjustments of shareholdings of the British aerospace giant in other joint European ventures such Matra BAe Dynamics or the Eurofighter programme. There is no talk of a trade-off for a smaller stake in Airbus. "It is only about Airbus. There are no discussions on other subjects."

"If it (the formation of the single company) never happens - which I doubt - we will control 80%, and this clears the way to integrate our 80% holding," he says.

Aerospatiale Matra, Dasa and CASA have already agreed to the plans and Camus says they hope to cross the final hurdle to a full merger - regulatory approval by the European Commission - by the end of June, to allow flotation on the Paris and Frankfurt stock exchanges.

Source: Flight Daily News