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UPDATE 1-Airbus to become a company in February
Reuters Company News - January 08, 2001 05:24
PARIS, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Plane maker Airbus Industrie is to transform itself from consortium to company by end-February, generating synergies of at least 350 million euros ($333.6 million) per year from 2004, the shareholders said on Monday.
Airbus is hoping these efficiency gains will make it more competitive against arch-rival Boeing, which itself has been critical of the lack of transparency associated with the Airbus consortium structure.
The two shareholders, European aerospace giant EADS and Britain's BAE Systems Plc , said Airbus Industrie's restructuring would be complete at the end of next month.
"The restructuring of Airbus activities will allow the group to deliver, to its clients and shareholders, even higher levels of performance," said John Weston, chief executive of British arms giant BAE.
EADS, which owns 80 percent of Airbus, and BAE Systems , which holds the remaining 20 percent, announced a deal last June to transform the group by the start of 2001.
In the past, EADS and BAE have coordinated their Airbus activities through Airbus Industries, a consortium or "European Interest Grouping" formed under French law in 1967.
Under that structure, decision-making has been decentralised among the British, French, German and Spanish shareholders in Airbus, each of whom manufacture a different part of the planes.
Airbus coordinates the design, development, certification, production, marketing, sales and after-sales support of its large commercial aircraft.
The establishment of the new Airbus will enable the parties to pool their activities under a single management -- a move designed to cut down on the inefficiencies associated with the consortium.
The design and development of new planes, which in the past has been divided between centres in four countries, will in future be coordinated from a single site.
The change comes at a crucial point in the heated rivalry between Airbus and Boeing. Just last month, Airbus launched its 555-seat superjumbo A380 aircraft, a plane it hopes will end Boeing's monopoly of the large aircraft segment.
At 0945 GMT, shares in EADS were up 1.14 percent at 22.15 euros. BAE Systems stock was up 0.83 percent at 362-3/4 pence.
«Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae.»