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Airbus CEO Enders Expects A400M Financing Deal

Project Still $7 Billion Short

Thomas Enders, the president and CEO of Airbus says he is confident that the NATO countries who are partners in the A400M project will come to an agreement on how to share the cost overruns for the long-delayed military transport.

Britain, France, Germany, Spain Belgium, Luxembourg, and Turkey are working to come up with an equitable plan that will provide enough money for the program to continue. EADS has said it is ready to discontinue the A400M unless the seven nations can find an additional $7 billion for the plane.

The international news service AFP reports that Enders made the comments while in Tokyo.  "I believe that we are close to an agreement," he said, adding "I think we get a significant contribution from the nations to this important project."

Spanish Defence Minister Carme Chacon said Wednesday an agreement had been reached in principle, but a spokesman for the German Defense Ministry said so far there has been "no written response" on the part of the seven nations on the proposal.

Those seven nations have ordered 180 of the A400M airlifters worth about $27 billion. Those orders were made in 2003, and the plane didn't fly until the very end of last year, nearly 7 years later. Enders said that, at the time, the company made a mistake in accepting a contract that was clearly not founded appropriately and accepting a timeline that was not appropriate."

FMI: www.airbus.com

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