September 26, 2012
Credit: Credit: Airbus
Governments should not try to wield influence over a merged EADS and BAE Systems , EADS boss Tom Enders said on Wednesday, highlighting the political tensions that could torpedo the planned $45 billion aerospace tie-up.
Enders, who also faces a battle to sell the deal to shareholders, told German lawmakers any state role had to be limited for the combined company - which would be the world’s largest aerospace and defence group - to be competitive.
“There are many examples to prove that companies in this sector and of this size should not necessarily be subject to state involvement,” Enders, a German, told reporters after briefing Parliament’s economy committee.
While pan-European group EADS and Britain’s BAE are keen to limit state interference, which might deter investors or other governments from placing orders, politicians fear the combined group might be vulnerable to a takeover and jobs might be lost.
EADS has 50,000 employees at 29 sites in Germany and 133,000 worldwide.
Nicknamed “Major Tom” in Germany, Enders is a former paratrooper with an uncompromising reputation who has clashed with German and French governments before. He will need all of his political acumen to convince Germany and France that the deal’s merits outweigh the drawbacks.
He told lawmakers he was ready to discuss with the German government any reservations it had over the planned deal, which would create a business with $93 billion of sales from Airbus jetliners to Typhoon warplanes and nuclear-powered submarines.