The French financial services regulator AMF has revealed it is running an investigation into EADS's share price activity.

The AMF says that, in line with its powers, it has been investigating the share trading activity of the company over "the past few weeks". The watchdog says it will include this week's "most recent events" in its investigation.

The German central bank and financial supervisory authority, BaFin has also acknowledged that it is also looking into the unusual share price activity in recent days "as a routine procedure".
Shares in EADS plummeted this week after the announcement of a delay of at least seven months to the company's flagship Airbus A380 project.

The A380 announcement followed the news that the long range twin A350, a proposed competitor to Boeing's 787, would have to be redesigned after failing to meet potential customers' expectations.

The company has also suffered the fall-out from the French Clearstream bribery scandal and the allegations of insider trading by EADS co chief executive Noël Forgeard, who sold EADS shares, along with some belonging to his family members, immediately prior to their slide. Forgeard today insisted he had no prior knowledge of the programme delays or other factors.

EADS confirms that six board members sold shares as part of the company's share option scheme in which employees defer payment for stock until a specified date, after which they have the right to buy at the rate the stock was trading when the scheme opened.

The insider trading rules of EADS stipulate that directors may only exercise their stock options within four specific 3-week periods each year and "provided they do not have any privileged information", says EADS. The most recent period was 8-28 March, during which period six directors exercised their options.

EADS share price 1-15 June W445

EADS shares have dropped from over €27 at the beginning of the month to as little as €16 on Wednesday (see graph above) after the A380 delay announcement contained a profits warning. The decline has wiped out €5 billion in market capitalisation.

EADS is officially headquarted in the Netherlands, but its shares are listed on the Paris, Frankfurt and Madrid bourses in addition to the Amsterdam stock exchange.

Full analysis of this week's events will appear in the 20-26 June edition of Flight International magazine.

Click here to read Flight group editor Kieran Daly on the events of this week and what it means for Noël Forgeard.

Source: Flight International