|Quoting TIA (Reply 5):|
But why is BAE mentioning the A400 now? BAE knew what the R&D expenses for this plane were
BAE are not mentioning the A400M as a reason for selling out. It is 'industry experts' who have raised this issue. Some of us do not have a high regard for them:
We have to agree or disagree with them as we see it ourselves.
What is clear is that within seven days BAE announced plans to divest themselves of 20 per of Airbus and that both Daimler Benz and Lagardere announced the sale of 7.5 per cent of EADS. These were all investments. Clever investors get out at or near the top of a market (and last year's aircraft orders were a record for both Airbus and Boeing). Not so clever investors get their timing totally wrong. Each of us - and, no doubt, the 'industry experts' - will decide whether we think BAE, D-B and L are clever or not so clever.
It should also be remembered that Airbus had previously threatened BAE that if it did not cough up around £400M for R&D on the wing of the A350 the work would go to China. We have already seen Airbus respond to Boeing's 787 by going for the A350 when it was still incurring huge R&D costs on the A380 and A400M. And I note that the manufacture of the 787 is going to be almost a global project. So it is not unreasonable to assume that Airbus has already or is currently at least looking at the possibility of global manufacture (assuming it does not have its head in the sand).
With no influence on the EADS decision making process it is possible - repeat, possible - that seeing the probability of having to make further huge investments in a market that has possibly - repeat, possibly - peaked and with the possibility - repeat possibility - of Chinese manufacture to reduce costs, BAE decided to opt out.
BAE, I believe, will spend at least some of the money they get for Airbus on improving their position as the Pentagon's sixth largest supplier. This is a market where technology is totally dominant and low cost manufacture is not a so significant consideration. Further by having cut its links to Airbus and, through them, potentially to China, I believe BAE have enhanced their prospects of overcoming the technology transfer issues that surround the JSF project where the UK is a junior partner with the US.