Defence merger talks must not be delayed by politicians, says EADS


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The Independent Online

EADS has rejected calls to postpone the deadline to agree merger terms with BAE Systems, amid pressure from wrangling European governments to allow extra time to negotiate their positions.

Fabrice Brégier, the head of Eads's Airbus plane-making unit, said it was crucial to stick to the 10 October deadline set by the Takeover Panel to agree the details of the proposed £30bn transaction.

"The importance is that opinions converge. The 10 October deadline may seem soon, but it's absolutely necessary given the environment," Mr Brégier told Les Echos newspaper. "It's normal that different points of view are expressed. Especially in an operation where states have strategic interests to preserve," he added.

"This kind of operation requires rapid decisions, and it's not Eads or BAE management pushing, it's the markets and the clients, who want to know what the future of the group will be," Mr Brégier said. He added that the merger plan included guarantees to the US over its security concerns.

BAE and Eads are in talks to create the world's largest aerospace and defence group, with France and Germany keen to safeguard their influence over Eads.

Thomas de Maizière, the German Defence Minister, has joined France in pressing the companies for an extension. "Perhaps we need more time. It depends on the answers for our questions and so I think we need more time," Mr Maizière said in Cyprus.