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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Airbus raises price of A380 plane
Airbus employee leaning out of an A380
French ministers are under pressure to force changes at EADS
Airbus has increased the sale price of its A380 superjumbo, whose problems have triggered a management crisis at parent company EADS.

Airbus said the price of all its models - including the A380 - rose two weeks ago in a standard annual increase.

The disclosure of a six-month delay to delivery of the A380 has thrown its Franco-German parent firm into turmoil.

The French government, a major investor in EADS, is under pressure to force management changes at the firm.

'Normal move'

French finance minister Thierry Breton has met with senior managers and is expected to put forward measures to rebuild confidence in the company within days.

According to the Financial Times Deutschland, the list price of the A380 - which will become world's largest airliner - rose by 4.7% to between 235.4m euros ($295.6m; 161.9m) and 251.6m euros ($316m; 173.1m) earlier this month.

The situation must be improved
Michele Alliot-Marie, French defence minister

An Airbus spokesman confirmed that the price of all its models had risen but declined to comment on individual figures.

The increases were in no way connected to the costly delays to the A380, he stressed.

"Like every industry, we raise our list prices each year," he said.

Forced to scale back its A380 delivery targets for the next three years, Airbus is set to lose 2bn euros in earnings.

It is also likely to face compensation claims from airlines having to wait longer for the new aircraft.

Under-fire

Senior executives have been severely criticised for their handling of the A380's problems and the way they communicated the news to investors.

Noel Forgeard, one of EADS' two co-chief executives, is under added pressure after selling share options in March weeks before the production problems first came to light.

He has denied any wrongdoing but financial regulators are investigating movement in EADS shares in recent months.

Amid calls for the French government to increase its role in EADS, defence minister Michele Alliot-Marie said investors needed to address the firm's "structural problems".

The firm's dual management structure - consisting of two chief executives and two chairmen representing German and French interests - has been criticised as unwieldy.

"The situation must be improved," she said. "It is incontestable."




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