EADS hopes for quick political decision on BAE plan

BERLIN Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:55am EDT

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

BERLIN (Reuters) - European aerospace group EADS EAD.PA is looking for a quick decision from governments on its plan to merge with British defense company BAE Systems (BAES.L), as France and Germany hold meetings to discuss a common position on the proposed tie-up.

"We are continuing constructive talks and hope for an agreement soon," a spokesman said on Thursday. "All the facts are on the table."

France's president, Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss the merger plans at a meeting in Germany this weekend, and advisors are meeting on Thursday and Friday for preparatory talks.

The Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, will also discuss the merger plans next week, with the economy ministry due to report on how things stand.

France and Germany are keen to ensure they do not lose too much influence at Airbus-maker EADS. German politicians, in particular, have been calling for job guarantees.

Merkel's coalition government has not yet come up with a unified position on the talks. While the governments in France and Britain have communicated their wish lists to EADS, Germany hasn't yet, an industry source who is familiar with the issue said.

Earlier this week, sources said BAE and EADS could walk away from a deal that would create an enlarged group worth $45 billion if too many demands were placed on them by governments.

EADS chief executive Tom Enders said on Wednesday the companies were trying to accommodate governments' concerns and national security interests.

A combination of BAE and EADS would overtake U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N) as the world's biggest aerospace and defense company in sales.

(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Dan Lalor and Mike Nesbit)

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