Thursday, October 12, 2006

Shall We Dance?

What with all this harmony:

PARIS, Oct 12, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that restructuring at plane maker Airbus should be "distributed harmoniously" between plants at Hamburg in Germany and Toulouse in France, at the end of a Franco-German ministerial meeting.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel then said that "France and Germany must remain on a equal footing" within EADS, the parent aerospace group behind Airbus.

Though not three (or more) part harmony, it seems:

MADRID — The delays over the Airbus 380 Project have claimed its first victims in Spain, with the loss of 180 jobs from a company which supplies parts for the motor.

Turbo Propulsores, based in the Basque Country, announced the job losses on Wednesday.

....Spain, a minority partner in Airbus parent EADS, had said it wants to raise the country's stake to safeguard jobs.

Spanish economy minister Pedro Solbes said he wanted to protect the EADS and Airbus work carried out in Spain....

The country owns 5.4 percent of EADS through state holding company SEPI.

.... France has paid more attention to the Spanish shareholding since Russia unexpectedly grabbed a 5 percent stake in EADS via a state bank and hinted it could buy more.

Nor is there unanimity even within countries:

Paris/Hamburg (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday the German government had not taken any decision yet on whether to buy a stake in EADS, the parent company of the troubled planemaker Airbus.

....Merkel's remarks came after Mayor Ole von Beust of Hamburg - where Airbus has one of its main plants - announced after talks with the new CEO of Airbus, Louis Gallois, that he welcomed a federal German government "decision" to buy a holding in Airbus.

Von Beust, who is one of Germany's 16 state premiers and a Christian Democrat ally of Merkel, later backtracked, but said, "I remain convinced that the federal government must act if industry does not do its patriotic duty."

The later comment was an attack on DaimlerChrysler, the German-US automotive company that holds 22.5 per cent of EADS and said Wednesday it aims to reduce its holding to 15 per cent but no lower.

The French government owns 15 per cent of stockmarket-listed EADS, which was created to unite western Europe's disparate aerospace companies so that they can compete with big US corporations.

But, to do so successfully, Airbus needs to replace a little harmony with efficiency. And when someone choreographed with that in mind, he was asked to resign:

Before being forced to step down earlier this week, former Airbus head Christian Streiff had recommended moving the task of fitting the A380 interior from Hamburg to Toulouse, where Airbus has its headquarters.

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