EADS shares soar as Daimler nets $2 billion from stake sale

Thu Dec 6, 2012 12:41pm EST
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By Christiaan Hetzner

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmaker Daimler raised over $2 billion from a lightning sale of shares in Airbus parent EADS, making it the first beneficiary of a shake-up of the European aerospace group that sent EADS shares higher.

Daimler's sale of a 7.5 percent stake is the first step in a complex series of transactions designed to reduce the scope for government interference in Europe's largest aerospace group following a deal between politicians, banks and industrialists.

The deal led by France, Germany and Spain calls for governments and proxies to reduce a block of shareholdings in EADS to 30 percent from 50 percent, while removing a boardroom veto over industrial matters previously enjoyed by France.

Daimler said it had netted 1.66 billion euros ($2.2 billion) from selling a 7.5 percent stake in EADS.

EADS shares closed 8 percent higher at 29.40 euros, recovering their value before the announcement in September of negotiations to merge with BAE Systems.

Although the $45 billion merger attempt failed, due in particular to opposition from Germany, many of the structures designed for the tie-up have been adopted, handing full day-to-day control to Chief Executive Tom Enders.

"The primary purpose of the changes to the EADS shareholder pact is a move towards normalizing the governance structure," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Rob Stallard.

EADS shares were also buoyed by its plans to buy back up to 15 percent of the stock to mop up excess shares and facilitate the exit of Daimler's fellow core industrial shareholder, French media company Lagardere.   Continued...

A Mercedes Benz logo is silhouetted against the sky at a newly completed factory of German car maker Daimler in Kecskemet, 90km (56 miles) east of Budapest March 2, 2012. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo