German position is better after EADS shake-up

17th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

FRANKFURT, July 17, 2007 (AFP) - Germany has defended its interests in European aerospace giant EADS and has increased its say in the company under the management shake-up unveiled this week, deputy economy minister Peter Hintze said in a newspaper interview Tuesday.

FRANKFURT, July 17, 2007 (AFP) - Germany has defended its interests in European aerospace giant EADS and has increased its say in the company under the management shake-up unveiled this week, deputy economy minister Peter Hintze said in a newspaper interview Tuesday.

"Germany has increased its management responsibility at Airbus. We're therefore better off now than before the meeting of (Chancellor Angela) Merkel with (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy in Toulouse," Hintze told the Financial Times Deutschland.

Hintze, state secretary in the economy ministry, is also government coordinator in the aerospace industry.

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company on Monday unveiled plans to scrap its cumbersome dual management structure in a shakeup aimed at pulling the aviation giant out of crisis.

Under the new management structure, the current French co-chief executive at EADS Louis Gallois becomes the sole CEO, while his German counterpart Thomas Enders will head the aircraft unit Airbus.

Germany's Ruediger Grube becomes the sole chairman of the board of directors of EADS, while his French co-chairman, Arnaud Lagardere, is to step down while remaining a member of the board.

Hintze said that German Airbus employees had been concerned that their interests would not be sufficiently represented in Toulouse at a time when Airbus is undergoing a massive restructuring with the loss of 10,000 jobs.

"That fear has now been allayed," Hintze said.

"Our aim is keep technologies and jobs here" in Germany, he added.

On the EADS shareholder structure, "Germany and France have agreed to set up a working group to study the different legal options to see how the security interests of European countries can be preserved if state influence is reduced in future," Hintze said.

"It is German policy to reduce state influence at EADS," he said.

The principal shareholders of EADS are the French state, with 15 percent, and the French media and defence group Lagardere, which owns an equivalent stake that it is reducing to 7.5 percent.

On the German side, automaker DaimlerChrysler has 15 percent and 7.5 percent is held by a consortium of investors, including regional governments.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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