* France wants to keep EADS stake, government source says
* Berlin hasn't taken a decision either in favour or against
By Elizabeth Pineau
PARIS, Sept 26 France wants to remain a
shareholder in Airbus parent EADS and retain the
ability to influence the aerospace group's decision-making in
any merger with BAE Systems, a French government source
said on Wednesday.
However, the source indicated flexibility on the way this
"France wants to remain in EADS' capital," the source said,
speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity. "We want to keep
influence over the key decisions."
"We can imagine several possible formulas," the source
added, referring to both shareholdings and board composition.
France owns 15 percent of EADS and would be left with a 9
percent stake in the merged company if EADS' current
shareholders end up with 60 percent and BAE investors 40
percent, as has so far been mooted in the talks.
EADS and Britain's BAE Systems are in $45 billion merger
talks, but face political uncertainty over the deal in France
The French government source said a UK regulatory deadline
of Oct. 10 appeared "short" given the issue's complexity, but
that it was up to the companies to address this. Speculation is
mounting that the companies could ask for an extension.
The German government, which does not have a stake in EADS
but is considering buying shares currently held by German group
Daimler, has raised questions about not only how but
whether the merger should be pursued, according to a German
"There is a debate in Germany, you only have to read the
newspapers," the French source said. "But no decision whether
positive or negative has been taken to our knowledge."
EADS boss Tom Enders told German lawmakers in Berlin on
Wednesday that any state role had to be limited for the combined
company - set to be the world's largest aerospace and defence
group - to be competitive.