France sells down stake in Airbus

Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier. The European aerospace conglomerate said it delivered 626 planes last year, a company record but still 22 fewer than U.S. rival Boeing. Photo / AP
Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier. The European aerospace conglomerate said it delivered 626 planes last year, a company record but still 22 fewer than U.S. rival Boeing. Photo / AP

The French state has raised 451 million euros (NZ$735.18 million) by selling a one per cent stake in European aircraft and defense corporation Airbus Group, the economy minister says.

The divestment, of around eight million shares to institutional buyers, brings France's stake in the publicly traded group to 11 per cent - the same as Airbus Group partner Germany.

Airbus Group - the new name for what used to be known as EADS - has seen its shares gain 74.63 per cent over the past year, to 56.44 euros per share, in large part thanks to management reforms carried out in 2013.

French Economy Minister Pierre Moscovici late Wednesday announced the sale, saying it would lower the French government's stake to a level on par with that of Germany's, as per a bilateral pact. Germany recently raised its stake to the 11 per cent level.

Spain's government holds a smaller stake, of just over four per cent in the European group.

Moscovici on Thursday revealed that 451 million euros had been raised from the stake sale.

France has been selling off some of its state holdings in companies in a bid to bring down its debt mountain, which is equivalent to 94 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Last year it raised 2.4 billion euros through divestments, nearly half of that through an earlier sell-off of Airbus Group shares.

Airbus Group is riding high after announcing this week its best commercial performance in its history, with notably 2013 being a record year for orders of Airbus aircraft, though deliveries still trailed those of US rival Boeing.


-AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 16 Apr 2014 20:00:25 Processing Time: 894ms