December 9, 2014 / 12:20 PM / 5 years ago

Finland to buy Airbus out from defense group Patria

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Airbus Group (AIR.PA) has agreed to sell its minority stake in Finnish defense company Patria as it presses ahead with efforts to streamline its defense and space activities.

The Finnish government, the majority shareholder in Patria, is buying Airbus’s 26.8 percent stake. This means the government will wholly own the company, but it said this was only a temporary situation and that it would seek a new partner early next year.

In September, Airbus unveiled plans to sell half a dozen businesses with combined annual revenues of around 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion), to simplify its defense and space division to focus on warplanes, missiles, launchers and satellites.

“With the sale of our stake in Patria, we are implementing the conclusions drawn from our portfolio review earlier this year for the future set-up of our defense and security business,” Airbus Group strategy chief Marwen Lahoud said in a statement on Tuesday.

The parties did not disclose the value of the deal. Patria, whose products include tanks and mortar systems, last year had sales of 824 million euros with an operating profit of 97 million euros.

Airbus’s predecessor EADS bought a stake in Patria in 2001.

Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl in Helsinki and Victoria Bryan in Berlin; Editing by Pravin Char

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