More troubles for Airbus

Stephen Beard Sep 7, 2006
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More troubles for Airbus

Stephen Beard Sep 7, 2006
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: More troubles for Airbus. BAE Britain’s largest defense company is bailing out. The company is selling its stake in the European plane manufacturer. It wants to make more acquisitions in the U.S. From London Stephen Beard has more.


STEPHEN BEARD: BAE intends to sell its 20 percent share in Airbus to the Franco-German parent company that owns the remaining 80 percent. BAE is disappointed with the price, $3.5 billion. That’s half what analysts said the stake was worth earlier this year, before Airbus announced further problems with its new doubledecker superjumbo.

Nevertheless BAE’s boss Mike Turner says now is the right time to get out of Airbus. Life’s getting much tougher for the European planemaker, he says, for two reasons:

MIKE TURNER: The fact it’s got to find money to invest in the new family of aircraft. And the fact that Boeing has really re-entered the market over the last two or three years with a vengeance – and a very good product.

If BAE’s shareholders approve the sale, the company will use the proceeds to buy more defense contractors in the U.S. Currently, the Pentagon’s seventh-largest supplier, BAE is trying to propel itself into the top five.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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