BAE's Airbus stake valued at €2.75 billion

24-08-2006

BAE Systems yesterday announced that an independent valuation had priced its 20 per cent stake in planemaker Airbus at €2.75 billion (£1.9 billion).

In a news release, Europe's largest defence firm said that its board would consider the valuation by the Rothschild investment bank and consult its shareholders over the planned disposal of its stake to Airbus parent company EADS.

"Following repayment of debts outstanding between BAE Systems and Airbus at completion and the payment of transaction related costs, net proceeds to BAE Systems are estimated to be approximately €1.65 billion," BAE added.

The low valuation will come as a disappointment to BAE and mean a further set back for Airbus, which last month announced fresh delays in deliveries of its A380 superjumbo as a result of wiring problems, prompting a 26 per cent drop in its share price.

The company is expected to use proceeds from the sale to make further acquisitions, including in the United States.

In a separate statement, Franco-German firm EADS, which already owns 80 per cent of Airbus, said that it would meet the independent valuation in cash if BAE decided to go ahead with the sale of its stake in the firm.

Meanwhile, EADS' share price is expected to plummet when trading begins today, following yesterday's announcement by the company that its joint chief executive Noel Forgeard had stepped down following accusations of insider trading.

Mr Forgeard has denied any wrong doing regarding the sale of his shares in Airbus last March, claiming that he was not made aware of delays in the production of the company's A380 model until April.

Airbus chief Gustav Humbert also resigned yesterday, citing the production delays as the reason for his departure.


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