Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Friday, 7 March 2008

EU rejects EADS golden share idea

KC-30 tanker
EADS won part of a huge US tanker contract last week

Golden shares have no place in the single market, the EU Commission has said, following reports that EADS is considering their use.

The French and German governments are making plans to stop anyone buying more than 15% of the aerospace and defence firm, the Financial Times said.

One option would be to give Paris and Berlin golden shares that would give them extra voting powers.

The two governments have been in talks about how to protect the company.

Last year, Dubai's sovereign wealth fund bought 3.1% of EADS, while the state-controlled Russian bank VEB bought 5%.

Less friendly countries

Last week, EADS won part of a $35bn deal to provide tanker aircraft to the US government, defeating its rival Boeing.

The deal has been criticised by some in the US who feel that foreign companies should not be given such big military projects.

If Airbus were to be controlled by companies from less friendly countries, there would probably be even greater opposition to its winning contracts.

But the EU has clearly opposed the use of golden shares to prevent that happening.

"The general view on golden shares is clear," said Commission spokesman Oliver Drewes.

"The European Commission doesn't think golden shares have their place in the single market."




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