Russians buy $1bn stake in Airbus parent

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The Russian government is believed to have used some of its petrodollars to buy a $1bn (£530m) stake in the European defence and aviation group EADS, the maker of Airbus passenger planes.

Reports in the Russian business daily Vedomosti claimed the Kremlin had used one of its largest state-owned banks - Vneshtorgbank - to amass a 5 per cent stake, and was continuing to accumulate shares.

Government sources familiar with the deal were quoted as saying although the share purchase was purely a commercial matter, the Kremlin hoped to gain a say in the management of the sprawling multinational consortium.

The 5 per cent stake was apparently built up over the summer after EADS's shares plunged on reports that its A380 passenger jet would be delayed.

Yesterday's claim that Russia had acquired the shares were unconfirmed and undenied by EADS and Vneshtorgbank. But shares in EADS rose 1.5 per cent.

A Russian stake could be good news for the EADS's orders but is likely to have some concerned about Moscow's increasing interest in European companies.

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