France, Germany agree strategy in EADS talks: report

Published September 30, 2012

| Reuters

France and Germany have agreed a common strategy for the planned $45 billion merger of Airbus parent EADS and Britain's BAE Systems , a German magazine reported on Sunday.

The plan foresees France and Germany each holding a 9 percent stake in the merged entity, which would be the world's largest defense and aerospace company, Der Spiegel magazine reported, citing high level civil servants.

The Franco-German agreement would form the basis for their negotiations with the British government in talks this week, the magazine added.

A spokesman for German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler declined to confirm or deny the report.

"The talks are continuing and the relevant questions are still being examined," the spokesman said.

A German government source told Reuters on Friday that Berlin will present France with a list of proposals, agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's office and the economy ministry, that aim to preserve a balance of power between the two countries in the new company.

France directly owns 15 percent of EADS, the maker of Airbus jets, and wants to retain its right to influence group strategy, currently conducted through a complex pact with 7.5-percent shareholder Lagardere .

Germany is not a direct shareholder but sees the transaction as a chance to tighten its grip on a stake currently held by Daimler AG and a group of banks.

The German source gave no further details but his comments confirmed a newspaper report on Friday which also said Germany was ready to buy up the shares of Daimler and the banks via the state development bank KfW if France kept its own stake intact.

(Reporting by Kerstin Doerr and Michael Nienaber, writing by Jonathan Gould; editing by Patrick Graham)

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