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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 18:59 GMT
Wrangling hits Airbus restructure
Airbus A380 plane

Airbus has been forced to postpone an announcement on a major overhaul of the business, amid disagreement between its various European partners.

The struggling planemaker said it had shelved plans to reveal a radical restructuring, likely to result in thousands of job losses, on Tuesday.

France, Germany, the UK and Spain, all home to Airbus factories, have been unable to agree on future contracts.

Costly delays to the A380 superjumbo have hit the company's finances.

Seeking consensus

Parent firm EADS says Airbus needs to reduce its costs by 5bn euros (3.4bn) by 2010 to boost productivity and make up for the losses from the delays to the flagship project.

Further savings after 2010 - in the region of 2bn euros a year - are also likely.

Its shares ended the day almost 3% higher in Paris.

I wish that they can lead to a consensus we urgently need
Louis Gallois, Airbus chief executive

Government ministers and union officials from all four countries have been lobbying Airbus bosses in recent days, fearing that plants in their countries will bear the brunt of the cuts.

Newspaper reports have suggested that Airbus could cut up to 12,000 jobs from its 57,000-strong workforce.

But Airbus said it had been unable to reach a "consensus" on the restructuring, particularly over which plants in which countries would handle the manufacturing and final assembly of the new A350 plane.

Toulouse: 11,500 staff
Saint Nazaire: 2,300
Nantes: 2,000
Meaulte: 1,200
Hamburg: 10,000
Bremen: 3,100
Nordenham: 2,100
Stade: 1,500
Buxtehude: 350
Laupheim: 1,100
Getafe: 2,000
Cadiz: 500
Madrid: 500
Filton: 6,500
Broughton: 5,000

The firm said it hoped to resume negotiations on how contracts to build the plane - finally approved in December - would be shared out in the next few days.

"I made proposals which I deem balanced, both from an industrial and a technological point of view, and which serve our objective of economic competitiveness," Louis Gallois, chief executive of both Airbus and EADS, said.

"I wish that they can lead to a consensus we urgently need."

Mr Gallois stressed that a decision on the future shape and size of the business could not be delayed any longer, saying that staff were "eager" to know about their futures.

Airbus' main factory is in Toulouse, where the firm is based.

Among its German plants, the company employs more than 10,000 staff in Hamburg, where final assembly of three models takes place.

In the UK, the firm operates plants at Filton, near Bristol, and Broughton, in North Wales, employing more than 11,000 staff in total.

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