EADS board clears divestment of manufacturing plants to European firms

Amsterdam: EADS and Airbus have chosen three European companies as the preferred bidders for their controlling stake in the six factories marked for divestiture as part of the Power8 restructuring programme.

EADS and Airbus have selected Latécoère in France, GKN in the UK and MT Aerospace in Germany as preferred bidders for the sites of Méaulte and Saint Nazaire Ville in France, Filton wing component and sub-assembly manufacturing facility in the UK, and Nordenham, Varel and Augsburg in Germany.

The EADS Board of Directors has authorized the management of EADS and Airbus to enter into negotiations with the preferred bidders on remaining issues and the required final due diligence with the aim of achieving a final agreement as soon as possible. The board said that it expects substantial progress on the share purchase agreement in the first quarter of 2008.

The EADS Board also said that it sees this decision as a clear commitment of the management to the Power8 targets.

According to the board, the partner selection for Filton will allow for an outright sale of the manufacturing part of the site to GKN. For the French and German sites, the agreement with Latécoère and MT Aerospace will take the form of joint ventures, in which Airbus will retain a substantial minority shareholding. Airbus, However, it will retain the option to withdraw completely after three years.

The joint venture structure will allow Airbus to closely monitor the transition during the period of A350 XWB development, while reducing substantially EADS' cash outlays. Under the joint venture agreements, Airbus does not intend to interfere in the majority shareholder's management of each plant.