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Zodiac Holders Form Pact, Affirm Support Against Safran Bid

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Zodiac Aerospace SA’s largest shareholding families concluded a pact yesterday, committing to maintain their holdings in the face of merger interest by fellow French company, Safran SA.

The four families were joined by an undetermined number of other investors to give opponents of a merger 40.5 percent of voting rights and 29.5 percent of the capital in the Issy Les Moulineaux-based company, according to an e-mailed statement.

The families and their allies “expressed their will to continued pursuit of the growth of the company, their commitment to its independence and their support of management,” Zodiac, Europe’s biggest maker of airplane seats, said in the statement.

Airbus SAS and Boeing Co., the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial planes and buyers of Zodiac items including escape chutes and oxygen systems, have pushed their biggest suppliers to merge so that a handful of companies with critical mass can produce parts, systems and equipment at the lowest price. Zodiac rejected an offer from Safran, calling it a “Pandora’s Box.”

Zodiac shareholder Societe Fonciere Financiere et de Participations FFP, which owns a 5.9 percent stake and controls 5.1 percent of the votes, committed under a 2006 deal to remaining an investor and supporting management, the company said in the statement.

Safran, Europe’s second-biggest maker of aircraft engines, was formed in 2005 when French state-owned aircraft-engine maker Snecma was purchased by electronics maker Sagem SA in a deal engineered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his tenure as finance minister. The company is 30.2 percent state-owned.

Safran also supplies braking systems, landing gears and cabling to planemakers, while Zodiac supplies cabin interior equipment including seats, escape chutes and systems for oxygen and electrical power.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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