Germany and France to hold 12.5pc in EADS

City A.M. Reporter
GERMANY and France have reached an agreement under which each government will hold a 12 per cent stake in aerospace and defence group EADS, a German newspaper reported yesterday.

Citing government sources, Handelsblatt said that the agreement would mean governments, including Spain which owns 5.5 per cent, would in the future hold roughly 30 per cent in the parent of planemaker Airbus.

Germany, which has never held a substantial direct stake in EADS, has been preparing the purchase of shares held by carmaker Daimler after talks on a $45bn (£28.3bn) merger between EADS and BAE Systems collapsed last month.

Already concerned about the French gaining a step up on them within Airbus, the Germans vetoed the defence and aerospace deal out of concern that their influence would be reduced further in the combined group.

Daimler currently controls a 22.5 per cent voting stake in EADS, holding 15 per cent directly and a further 7.5 per cent belonging to a consortium of private and public sector investors.

Under the current shareholder pact between France and Germany, this is counterbalanced on the French side by a 15 per cent government holding and 7.5 per cent stake owned by media firm Lagardere.

EADS declined to comment on the report.