BERLIN Jan 26 Two German government sources on
Tuesday denied a report in the Handelsblatt newspaper that
Berlin had given its consent to sell Airbus Group’s
defence electronics unit to two U.S. buyout groups.
One source in the coalition government said the report in
the business newspaper was “not accurate.”
Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday that Airbus was close to
sealing a deal with KKR and Carlyle and that the German
government had given a green light for the sale. It quoted
sources close to the negotiations.
A spokeswoman for the economics ministry on Tuesday said
Airbus had informed German authorities about an intention to
sell part of its defence unit, while declining to comment
“We will carefully follow this process together with the
defence ministry and conduct talks with Airbus and potential
investors,” one government source familiar with the matter told
German authorities want to assess what impact a deal could
have on jobs and to assess whether key security technologies and
competencies would remain in Germany.
The sale is part of a plan by Airbus to dispose of assets
with combined revenues of around 2 billion euros ($2.16
billion), following a strategic decision to focus on civil and
military aeronautical and space assets in the face of low
defence spending in Europe.
Airbus lacks the scale of rivals in defence electronics and
hopes to fetch more than 1 billion euros from the sale, sources
have said. The company said this month it was making good
progress in the sale of its defence electronics unit.
Airbus Group short-listed Carlyle and KKR for
the defence electronics unit, after they put up significantly
higher offers than rivals, three people familiar with the matter
told Reuters last month.
France and Germany own 11 percent each of Airbus Group and
Spain controls 4.1 percent.
($1 = 0.9244 euros)