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BAE Systems Finally Sell Out Of Airbus

Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:18 am

As expected - but just for the record:-

"BAE Systems ended its 27-year partnership with Airbus after shareholders in the UK company approved the sale of its 20pc stake in the world's biggest maker of civil aircraft.

"Dick Olver, BAE chairman, said the sale "was a moment in history when it was right to move" – a sentiment shared by many investors who believe the divestment comes in the nick of time.

"With Airbus in crisis and shares in parent company EADS plunging, BAE will be pleased to have negotiated a £1.9bn sale of its 20pc stake in the planemaker. BAE had a "put" option to sell the stake to EADS, which made the European aerospace group a compulsory buyer.

"The Airbus stake, which has generated £360m in profit for BAE over the past three years, "was a wonderful investment, but a portfolio investment," Mr Olver said.

"Airbus yesterday announced the third delay in 16 months on the A380 aircraft because of problems with the new aircraft's wiring, and said the postponement will cut profit at EADS by €4.8bn (£3.2bn) through to 2010. EADS shares fell as much as 12pc in trading in Paris this morning.

"EADS co-chief executive Tom Enders yesterday promised to change "radically" Airbus after disclosing the aircraft manufacturer will deliver just one of the double-decker A380s in 2007, instead of the nine forecast in June.

"EADS is now predicting a €2.8bn profit shortfall over four years on top of the €2bn disclosed in June. It has also announced a €2bn annual cost-savings programme, far above previous measures, and is taking provisions for penalties to airlines."

[Edited 2006-10-04 18:19:32]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci