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Germany to try to keep influence at EADS

Germany to host EADS meeting Feb 23: Berlin
Berlin (AFP) Feb 9, 2011 - Germany will host a high-level meeting on the future of European aerospace group EADS on February 23, the government said Wednesday, amid reports automaker Daimler wants to sell its 15-percent stake. "Such a meeting will take place," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government briefing, confirming earlier press reports. Seibert did not say exactly who would participate but reports said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle would attend.

Daimler, the German car giant that holds 15 percent of EADS and 22.5 percent of its voting rights, is preparing its exit, according to the German media. The firm could even get rid of its holdings this year, the Financial Times Deutschland has reported -- which Daimler has refused to confirm or deny. According to business daily Handelsblatt, Berlin is "urgently" seeking another German investor in EADS, which owns aircraft maker Airbus. "There are already negotiations with different investors, including German subcontrators of EADS," the newspaper quoted a government source as saying. On Monday, Seibert told reporters that Germany was "in intense dialogue" with France over the fate of EADS.
by Staff Writers
Berlin (UPI) Feb 10, 2011
Germany will host a high-level meeting on the future of European defense giant EADS on Feb. 23, the German government said.

"I can confirm that such a meeting will take place," German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government briefing. The German press had previously reported that the meeting would include Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle.

This comes amid speculation that German automobile maker Daimler is getting ready to load off its 15 percent stake in European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. The stake lends Daimler one-fifth of the voting rights.

German business daily Handelsblatt has reported that Berlin is worried about losing German corporate influence at EADS and is seeking another German investor to step in.

"There are already negotiations with different investors, including German subcontractors of EADS," the newspaper quotes an unnamed German government source as saying.

Meanwhile, Daimler on Thursday said it was added by France to an inquiry into allegations of insider trading in the sale of shares in EADS five years ago.

The companies under investigation are accused of having known about manufacturing problems with the Airbus A380 super jumbo when they sold their shares in 2006. Daimler and the other companies deny any wrongdoing.

EADS has a French-German-Spanish ownership structure and is Europe's second-largest defense contractor after BAE Systems from Britain.

The company has been under fire over the past months for ballooning costs related to its defense industry projects.

The company's A400M military transport plane program was only saved when its European partner nations agreed to provide a $4.6 billion bailout in November.

Agreed to in 2003, The A400M program was originally to cost $27 billion but, according to a recent study, final costs could now rise to $44 billion. The program is three to four years behind schedule.

Seven nations have ordered the A400M military transport aircraft from EADS daughter Airbus but most of them, including Germany and Britain, have scaled back orders due to budget pressures and because the plane has become more expensive than anticipated.

The company is currently in a fierce competition with U.S. arch-rival Boeing to outfit the U.S. Air Force with 179 in-flight refueling tankers. The contract, which is to be awarded in the coming weeks, is worth an estimated $35 billion to $40 billion.

earlier related report
US lawmakers concerned by Huawei deal
Washington (AFP) Feb 10, 2011 - US lawmakers expressed concern on Thursday over the sale of US computer firm 3Leaf Systems to Chinese technology giant Huawei, saying the deal could pose a "serious risk" to US national security.

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and three other lawmakers accused Huawei of having "ties with the People's Liberation Army, the Taliban, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard."

They asked to be updated on the status of the review of the 3Leaf acquisition by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reportedly began looking into the transaction in December.

Citing press reports, they said Huawei had purchased 3Leaf's intellectual property and hired a number of its employees in May 2010.

3Leaf Systems, founded in 2004, offers software that allows computer resources to be reallocated according to a user's needs across a computer network.

"Allowing Huawei and, by extension, communist China to have access to this core technology could pose a serious risk as US computer networks come to further rely on and integrate this technology," the lawmakers said.

"Huawei has well-established ties with the People's Liberation Army; it has also reportedly received extensive government support from the People's Republic of China," they said.

"Likewise, Huawei has supplied equipment to Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and now appears to be working extensively in Iran's telecom sector, of which the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps owns a significant stake," they said.

"We are convinced that any attempt Huawei makes to expand its presence in the US or acquire US companies warrants thorough scrutiny," the lawmakers said.



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MILPLEX
India to start talks on $12 billion fighter jet order
Bangalore, India (AFP) Feb 10, 2011
India said Thursday it would begin crucial contract negotiations in the next fortnight for an estimated $12 billion order for 126 fighter jets. The announcement came a day after Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony said the long-delayed contract to modernise India's decades-old aircraft fleet would be handed out during the next fiscal year starting April 1. "The contract negotiation commi ... read more







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