EADS confirms shareholder shake-up talks
By James Regan and Gernot Heller
PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in EADS rose on Monday as European nations raced towards a deal aimed at overhauling a convoluted shareholder structure at Europe's largest aerospace group.
The Airbus parent company said it was in talks on the company's ownership with France, German and Spain, confirming press reports.
People familiar with the matter said the talks involved a sweeping re-arrangement of government stakes, coupled with a staged exit of its industrial partners, reducing big shareholder blocks below 30 percent instead of more than 50 percent.
"The company is participating actively in such discussions ... with the objective to preserve and enhance ... the interests of all stakeholders," EADS said in a statement.
A German economy ministry spokesman added on Monday efforts were being made to reach a deal as quickly as possible.
Shares in the Franco-German-led group rose over 2 percent as investors warmed to the promise of greater clarity over its shareholder structure, even though it may mean an overhang of stock ready to be sold by industrial groups in the short term.
EADS has been controlled by a combination of the French state and industrial partners in France and Germany since it was founded in 2000 as a European counterweight to Boeing Co.
But the system has come under strain as the core industrial shareholders - German car maker Daimler AG and French media group Lagardere SA - pledged to focus on their core activities. Continued...