EADS shareholders reach deal on new capital structure

PARIS Wed Dec 5, 2012 12:16pm EST

PARIS Dec 5 (Reuters) - Europe's EADS announced a reshuffle of shareholdings on Wednesday in the biggest shake-up of control since the aerospace company was founded over a decade ago.

France and Germany have agreed to control 12 percent each of the voting rights, handing Berlin a direct stake in the Airbus parent company for the first time. Spain will control 4 percent.

"The agreement aims at normalising and simplifying the governance of EADS while securing a shareholding structure that allows France, Germany and Spain to protect their legitimate strategic interests," EADS said in a statement.

The move is designed to simplify the structure of Europe's largest aerospace company and comes weeks after talks broke down to merge it with UK defence contractor BAE Systems.

It increases the total of direct state shareholdings but these will be inside a smaller tent without proxy industrial shareholders, and government powers will be curbed.

The deal, hammered out in a final round of talks in Paris, confirms details reported by Reuters.

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