Germany and France agree to hold 12 percent each in EADS - report

BERLIN Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:49am GMT

Visitors look at aircraft models at the EADS booth during the ILA Berlin Air Show in Selchow near Schoenefeld south of Berlin, September 13, 2012. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Visitors look at aircraft models at the EADS booth during the ILA Berlin Air Show in Selchow near Schoenefeld south of Berlin, September 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and France have reached an agreement under which each government would hold a 12 percent stake in aerospace and defence group EADS EAD.PA going forward, a German newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Citing government sources, Handelsblatt said that the agreement would mean governments, including Spain which owns 5.5 percent, would in the future hold roughly 30 percent in the parent of planemaker Airbus.

The German and French governments could not immediately be reached for comment. EADS declined comment on the report.

Germany, which has never held a substantial direct stake in EADS, has been preparing the purchase of shares held by carmaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) after talks on a $45 billion merger between EADS and Britain's BAE Systems (BAES.L) collapsed last month.

Already concerned about the French gaining a step up on them within Airbus, the Germans vetoed the deal out of concern their influence would be reduced further in the combined group.

Daimler currently controls a 22.5 percent voting stake in EADS, holding 15 percent directly and a further 7.5 percent belonging to a consortium of private and public sector investors.

Under the current shareholder pact between France and Germany, this is counterbalanced on the French side by a 15 percent government holding and 7.5 percent stake owned by media firm Lagardere (LAGA.PA).

(Writing by Noah Barkin and Ludwig Burger)