UPDATE 2-EADS says owners mull capital increase, no decision


(Rewrites with EADS comment, previous dateline FRANKFURT)

Reporting by Christian Kraemer

MUNICH, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The main shareholders in European aerospace group EADS are considering a capital increase but no decision has been reached yet, a spokesman for the company said on Wednesday.

EADS co-Chairman Manfred Bischoff was quoted in Germany's Manager Magazin as saying the main shareholders had agreed on the company's future capital needs.

He told the magazine EADS needed to strengthen its equity to help it weather any future crisis, such as the delays to the Airbus A380 superjumbo programme announced last year.

"There is a common understanding amongst the large shareholders, including the French state, on how EADS's capital resources will look in future," Bischoff was quoted as saying in an interview with the magazine released on Wednesday.

A spokesman for EADS said: "(A capital increase) is being considered, but there is still no final decision about it."

He added that the decision as to whether there would be a capital increase would ultimately be made by investors at the company's annual shareholder meeting in May.

EADS shares were up 1.3 percent in Paris at 24.99 euros by 1246 GMT.

In addition to the French state, top EADS shareholders include German carmaker DaimlerChrysler and French media group Lagardere .

Asked about resistance from Daimler and Lagardere to a capital increase, Bischoff told the magazine it was also possible to structure a capital increase so that only new investors could take part.

This would increase the free float while maintaining the Franco-German balance of power among the large shareholders.

"Alongside the capital increase, there are various possibilities to strengthen the equity base, for example via holdings with equity characteristics," Bischoff added.

EADS was plunged into crisis last year after wiring problems delayed production and deliveries of its flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft, costing it almost 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in future profits and raising the prospect of what it described as painful job cuts.

Its finance chief, Hans Peter Ring, said last week it may turn to the markets to raise more funds.

The company's Airbus unit will also need funding to develop its new A350 XWB jetliner, which is crucial to taking on rival Boeing in the market for mid-sized aircraft.



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