September 5, 2014 / 4:28 PM / 4 years ago

Airbus Group declines comment on Dassault stake sale report

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus Group (AIR.PA) declined comment on Friday on a report that it planned to sell 10 percent of Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) back to the French aerospace firm.

The logo of Airbus Group is seen during the first public flight of an E-Fan aircraft during the e-Aircraft Day at the Bordeaux Merignac airport, southwestern France, April 25, 2014. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Bloomberg News reported that Airbus Group planned to carry out the transaction as a first step toward exiting its 46 percent stake in the maker of business jets and fighter planes.

“We have no comment,” a spokesman for Airbus Group said.

Airbus Group Chief Executive Tom Enders said in July it was a “not a question of if but ... when” it would sell its holding in Dassault, ending an increasingly uncomfortable arrangement to warehouse the stake on behalf of the French state.

Activist hedge fund TCI last year called the holding, inherited from a predecessor company, “a poor use of capital” and urged Airbus to sell it due to a lack of synergies.

Dassault makes the Rafale combat jet, a rival to the Airbus-affiliated Eurofighter Typhoon, as well as Falcon business jets.

A 10 percent stake in Dassault is worth some 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) at current prices.

Dassault Aviation shareholders will meanwhile vote on Sept 24 on a proposal to allow the company buy back up to 10 percent of its stock, subject to adjustment for other capital operations, according to documents published for the meeting.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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