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Poland Says It’s Considering Closer Ties With Airbus Parent EADS

Poland’s Defense Ministry said it’s exploring closer ties with European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., responding to a report that the eastern European country may seek to buy a small stake in the parent of Airbus SAS.

The ministry is “analyzing what a participation in EADS could give Poland, but it’s a long-term process and at an early stage,” Defense Ministry spokesman Jacek Sonta said. Any decision will come from the prime minister’s office, he said.

The Polish government is in talks with Toulouse, France-based EADS about taking a 1 percent to 2 percent stake in the company, Polish newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reported today, without saying where it got the information. A 1 percent holding is valued at about 400 million euros ($540 million), based on the company’s current share price.

EADS, which makes Airbus aircraft, helicopters, as well as space and defense equipment, last year reorganized its shareholder structure to reduce the role of governments.

The French state cut its share to 12 percent from 15 percent, and governments lost veto rights over key strategic decisions. Germany, which previously had no shares, gained 12 percent, while Spain has 4 percent. EADS declined to comment on its shareholder structure.

Russian bank Vneshtorgbank, now known as VTB Group, bought a 5 percent stake in EADS for about 1 billion euros in 2006 and then sought to use the holding as leverage for a management role. EADS declined to offer Russia a seat on the board or any other influence, and the bank ultimately sold the asset.


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