Airbus could shed full Dassault stake by end of 2015: sources

Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:05pm EST
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By Cyril Altmeyer and Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus Group and Dassault Aviation aim to oversee the complete sale of Airbus's 4.8 billion-euro stake in the French planemaker by the end of next year, two people familiar with the matter said.

Plans to reduce the 46.3-percent stake were recently put on hold due to market volatility and Airbus Group said earlier this month there would be a second window of opportunity in early 2015.

So far it has said it plans to sell around 10 percent to institutional investors, while family-controlled Dassault Aviation has won approval from its shareholders to buy back up to another 10 percent.

But both sides agree the future of the entire shareholding should be settled by the end of next year, the sources said.

"The idea is to wrap up the entire operation by the end of 2015," one of the people said, asking not to be named.

Airbus and Dassault Aviation both declined to comment.

Airbus inherited its stake from former state-owned Aerospatiale, and holds it on behalf of the French government in an increasingly uncomfortable arrangement that led to a decision earlier this year that it was not a strategic shareholding.

Unraveling the arrangement needs the agreement of the government and co-operation from Dassault.   Continued...

The logo of Airbus Group, Europe's largest aerospace group, is pictured in front of the company headquarters building in Ottobrunn, near Munich February 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Michaela Rehle