BAE Shareholders Want To Get Rid Of Stake In Airbus

At a special shareholders meeting a resolution was passed to dispose of BAE Systems' entire interest in Airbus.

Britain's BAE Systems announced Oct. 4 that shareholders had backed the proposed sale of its 20% holding in troubled European aircraft maker Airbus to Paris-based peer EADS. The sale, totaling about 2.75 lion euros ($3.5 billion), was expected to complete no later than October 14. The disposal will hand Franco-German EADS outright ownership of Airbus, whose flagship A380 superjumbo was hit Oct. 3 by fresh delays.

"At an extraordinary general meeting held earlier today, the shareholders of BAE Systems passed a resolution approving the disposal of BAE Systems' entire interest in Airbus," BAE said in an official statement. "As a result, BAE Systems expects completion of the disposal to take place not later than 14 October 2006, in accordance with the Shareholders' Agreement between BAE Systems, EADS and Airbus."

BAE Systems said that its shareholders had voted 99.85% in favor of offloading the stake to EADS, or the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company, which already owns 80% of Airbus.

The BAE vote comes amid a torrid week for the crisis-hit Airbus project. Following a board meeting late Oct. 3, EADS announced a third-round of A380 delivery delays, a doubling of expected losses, a total cash-flow reduction of 6.3 billion euros ($8.0 billion) and a drastic plan to cut costs. Deliveries of the A380 -- the world's biggest passenger jet -- are now two years behind schedule.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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