Airbus jobs in the UK secure in face of selloff

10th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

TOULOUSE, April 10, 2006 (AFP) - Airbus will retain its industrial activities in Britain, company chairman Gustav Humbert said on Monday, commenting on prospects that BAE Systems might sell its 20 percent interest in the aircraft manufacturing business.

TOULOUSE, April 10, 2006 (AFP) -  Airbus will retain its industrial activities in Britain, company chairman Gustav Humbert said on Monday, commenting on prospects that BAE Systems might sell its 20 percent interest in the aircraft manufacturing business.

BAE Systems of Britain has said that it is in talks with a view to disposing of its 20 percent stake in Airbus, which makes civilian planes but also has a military transport programme.

BAE Systems builds wings for the aircraft, and the announcement has raised concern among trade unions that jobs might be lost.

Humbert said at Airbus headquarters here in southern France: "Airbus is in the United Kingdom to stay." He said that the probability that BAE Systems might want to withdraw from Airbus had been in the air for a long time but had "financial and not industrial" implications. He said that "daily work in the United Kingdom will not be affected".

Humbert noted that "since 2001, all of the assets have been transferred by the partners to the integrated company".

However, Humbert acknowledged that the timing of the announcement by BAE Systems had "come as a complete surprise to us".

Humbert was speaking on the occasion of a ceremony to name the future centre for delivering Airbus aircraft here after the first president of the first Airbus business structure, a so-called grouping of common interest, Henri Ziegler.
 
Asked about a recent decision by German auto group Daimler Chrysler and by French publisher Lagardere to reduce sharply their holdings in the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), the main shareholder in Airbus, Humbert expressed satisfaction that they had decided to continue an association with the group.

On Tuesday, Daimler Chrysler said that it would reduce its holding from 30 percent to 22.5 percent and Lagardere said that it would halve its interest from 15 percent to 7.5 percent.
  
Meanwhile in Paris, the quasi-state savings group Caisse des Dépôts said that it had undertaken eventually to acquire 2.25 percent of EADS, this being part of the holding that Lagardere would sell.

The French government has signalled recently that it wants the Caisse des Dépôts to increase its role in supporting French industry, particularly in sensitive areas subject to foreign investment interest.

The Caisse des Dépôts said on Monday that its future investment in EADS was part of its strategy of investing in companies which met its requirements for long-term profitability and that this reflected its confidence in the strategy put in place by EADS and in the quality of its management.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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