LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s BAE Systems is not looking for a tie-up with another company following the collapse of its $45 billion merger talks with Airbus parent EADS, its chief executive and chairman said on Wednesday.
The two men, who added that the company’s management would be staying in place, said it had a very clear strategy and did not think the company was itself a possible bid target following the failure of the talks.
Asked if they would consider another attempt to merge with EADS, they said only if things had changed politically.
“Certainly not unless we knew that things were extremely different in the European governments,” Chairman Dick Olver told reporters on a conference call.
“I mean a) that they wanted it and b) that the red lines that (Chief Executive) Ian King described earlier would be easy to achieve. We have very good margins, we have very good quality of earnings across all of our businesses... and we have a very clear vision of where the growth is.”
The two sides announced the collapse of the talks earlier on Wednesday, saying they could not get agreement from the French, British and German governments before a deadline.
Asked if the group would consider rewarding frustrated shareholders with a share buyback, Olver replied: “We’ve been very clear about the priorities for the use of capital and share buybacks is covered in that regard and as and when the balance sheet allows it’s something we’ll consider.”
Asked if they would consider casting around for other deals with other companies, he said: “no”.
King confirmed the German government had been the main sticking point in the negotiations, rather than the French and British.
“That would be an accurate representation,” he said.
Reporting by Kate Holton. Additional reporting by Paul Sandle and Stephen Eisenhammer; editing by Jason Neely