PARIS, June 15 Airbus Group and Safran
look set to boost co-operation in the space launch
industry with a joint venture, accelerating Europe's response to
competition from U.S. low-cost rival SpaceX, people familiar
with the matter said.
Officials from the two companies are due to meet French
President Francois Hollande early on Monday, Hollande's office
said, but no reason for the meeting was provided.
People familiar with the matter said space would top the
agenda, amid growing pressure from industrial groups for a
shake-up of Europe's public-private system of building rockets.
Airbus Group and Safran declined comment.
In an interview with Reuters last month, Airbus Group Chief
Executive Tom Enders called for a major overhaul to cut costs
and give companies more say, but there have been disagreements
with France's CNES space agency over space launcher strategy.
Airbus Group builds the Ariane space rocket and French
aerospace group Safran provides the solid rocket motors. The two
companies are also the largest industrial investors in launch
service Arianespace, but CNES is its largest shareholder.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Cyril Altmeyer, Editing by Gus