Daimler sells remaining stake in EADS for $2.9 billion

Daimler AG, the world's third-largest luxury carmaker, yesterday sold its remaining stake in European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EADS), for €2.2 billion ($2.9 billion).

The move come less than 10 days after French media giant Lagardère SCA sold its entire 7.4-per cent stake in EADS for €2.28 billion or $2.97 billion (See: French media giant Lagardère sells entire stake in EADS for $2.97 billion)

Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler, which had already sold 7.5 per cent in EADS in December 2012 for €1.66 billion, yesterday sold 61.1 million shares or 7.5 per cent stake at €37 per share.

EADS bought 16 million of the shares for €600 million, Daimler said in a statement.

"We have concluded a very successful transaction, enabling us to fully participate in the positive development of the EADS share price. The proceeds from this sale are contributing positively to our free cash flow this year and in addition to the earnings from our ongoing businesses, will also support our policy of stable dividends'', said Bodo Uebber, member of Daimler's board of management for finance & controlling and financial services.

The sale was put in motion late last year when France and Germany agreed to change the company's shareholder structure in order to reduce government interference and cap their combined holdings at 28 per cent.

With the exit of Daimler and Lagardere, Germany and France will hold about 12 per cent stake each in EADS, and Spain 4 per cent.

EADS, which came into being following the 2000 merger between Aérospatiale-Matra, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG, and Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA, emerged as a symbol of Franco-German-Spanish integration alongside the euro, but within half a decade it had become the focus of industrial tensions between the three main euro zone economies.

EADS is a very profitable defence contractor. It has a market cap of $31.4 billion and generated net profit of $1.6 billion in 2012 on revenues of$ 73.7 billion.