Says EU Will Maintain Control
following a Russian state bank's investment -- and a
British sell-off -- of European Aeronautic Defense & Space
(EADS) stock, that the former Soviet state might seek a controlling
interest in the company.
EADS executives say, nay nay, I don't think so...
In a statement to the International Herald Tribune (IHT), EADS'
Co-Chairmen Manfred Bischoff and Arnoud Lagardere praised
VneshTorgBank's (VTB)$1+ billion investment (slightly over 5% of
the company's worth) in EADS, hailing it as an indication of
confidence in the future of the company.
They also said, in no uncertain terms, that "it would not be in
the best interest of the company to change corporate governance or
enlarge the group of industrial shareholders."
Apparently, since Russia's investment, reported earlier this week by
ANN, word has circulated in the European press of
Russia's desire for more than just a monetary stake in EADS.
The IHT reports Aleksei Fyodorov, chief executive of MiG, the
fighter jet maker, said last week that Russia wanted eventually to
double its stake in EADS to 10 percent. Meanwhile, Sergei
Prikhodko, an aide to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said
this week that Russia could insist on acquiring "at least a
blocking stake" in EADS over the long term.
EADS' four largest
shareholders, DaimlerChrysler, Lagardere, the French government and
the Spanish government control 50.5% of its stock. Now that UK's
BAE Systems sold their 20% stake in the congolmerate, also reported by ANN,
Russia's VTB is the fifth largest shareholder.
All of the chest-beating on the part of EADS' leadership seems
to stem from a fear that the recent financial maneuvering may
receive a little "political massaging" -- next week Russian
President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet
with French President Jacques Chirac in Paris.