EADS sees Test & Services sale decision in weeks

PARIS Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:16am EDT

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PARIS Oct 16 (Reuters) - EADS is close to a decision on the sale of its Cassidian Test & Services unit, the aerospace group said on Wednesday.

"We have identified several investors and expect to take a decision in a few weeks," Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Marwan Lahoud told a committee of the French parliament.

Airbus parent EADS put the subsidiary, which makes equipment to test jetliners and fighter planes, up for sale earlier this year following a strategy review.

Lahoud said the unit, which employs around 500 people, would be able to better develop when not tied to one manufacturer.

HSBC is running the proposed sale of Test & Services, which grew out of Racal Instruments, acquired by EADS in 2004.

French unions have protested about the sale, saying Test & Services should remain a 100 percent subsidiary of EADS.

The sale is part of a relatively limited set of disposals after the strategy review, which was triggered by last year's failure of merger talks between EADS and BAE Systens.

Lahoud said EADS would continue to adjust its portfolio and that minor acquisitions and disposals should be considered the norm in a company the size of EADS, which has 140,000 staff.

But he reiterated Europe's largest aerospace group is no longer interested in a major acquisition to bring defence activities into balance with fast-growing Airbus civil sales.

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