Qatar appears to be in discussions with the German government to acquire some of the 7.5% shareholding in EADS, which Germany's main shareholder Daimler has temporarily transferred to a bank consortium.

A delegation from the Gulf emirate recently visited the federal ministry of economics and technology in Berlin to discuss a possible investment, according to a report in Germany's Der Spiegel newspaper.

A spokeswoman for the ministry did not deny the meeting, when asked by Flightglobal and ATI, but added that she could not comment on "ongoing talks".

Sources close to negotiations stated that "Qatar's interest in EADS shows that it [EADS] is a highly attractive company. Due to EADS' technological-political significance, however, an investment by a state-owned fund will be scrutinised with particularly critical attention [by the government]".

Daimler wants to reduce its 22.5% shareholding in the aerospace giant and has already temporarily transferred a third of this stake to a consortium of German banks, although the car maker still holds the voting rights for the complete 22.5% packet.

A new solution for the 7.5% packet needs to be found over the next 15 months as the respective agreement with the banks expires at the end of 2012.

Berlin is eager to keep a balance between German and French investors in future. However, there appears to be disagreement within the coalition government over whether German public or private sector funds should be employed to maintain parity across the River Rhine.

Daimler said that, given its historical connection as a founding member and experience in part-managing EADS, the Stuttgart-based company would be available "to continue directing the industrial leadership on the German side no matter how the shareholding develops in future".

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news