Shareholders clinch deal on EADS structure

City A.M. Reporter
SHAREHOLDERS in EADS reached agreement yesterday on the biggest shake-up of control in the aerospace company since it was founded over a decade ago, putting the bulk of its shares beyond government influence.

The accord to wind down a complex Franco-German power-sharing pact came weeks after talks broke down to merge the group with UK defense contractor BAE Systems and borrows many of the mechanisms drawn up for the failed deal. France and Germany have agreed to control 12 per cent each of the voting rights, handing Berlin a direct stake in the Airbus parent company for the first time. Spain will also have a stake of around four per cent.

France will give up veto powers over the company’s industrial policy and none of the governments will have special veto powers but sensitive defence interests will be ring-fenced. EADS said the free float in the company would rise to over 70 per cent from 49 per cent now.