Airbus chief hints at sale of factories

FRANKFURT - European aircraft maker Airbus could sell some its sites under the vast restructuring plans scheduled to be announced later this month, Airbus chief and co-chairman of EADS, Louis Gallois, said in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Wed 7 Feb 2007, 2:09 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:52 PM

“We have excellent sites in Germany, France, Britain and Spain,” Gallois told the daily Die Welt.

“But we can’t afford in the long run to invest on our own all that is needed to maintain each site. We therefore have to discuss which sites it would make more sense to operate with partners,” Gallois said in comments reproduced in German.

There has already been speculation that Airbus could sell some of its sites under the so-called “Power 8” restructuring programme.

Gallois argued that operating the factories with partners would ”open up access to investment and to new markets and contribute to safeguarding jobs in the long term.”

“In any case, there is no cause for these prophecies of doom and gloom,” he said.

Rumours were “poison” for the company, he added.

Airbus, plagued by production problems in its A380 superjumbo program, is soon to unveil drastic cost-cutting plans on February 20.

German unions are concerned that up to 8,000 German jobs could be on the line.

And at the weekend, German Economy Minister Michael Glos appeared to issue a veiled threat that Berlin would review its defence contracts with Airbus’s parent company, the European Aeronautics Defence and Space Company (EADS) should the restructuring at Airbus hit German workers more than French workers.

Airbus employs a total 23,000 people on a full-time basis at seven sites in Germany, plus a further 6,300 part-time.

“We’re still in the decision-making process,” Gallois said. “But I warn against some of the horror scenarios that some people are painting.”

Airbus was boosting production and development to record levels.

“And that’s only possible because everyone is working so hard,” the Frenchman said.

“But we need to become slimmer and more efficient in administration. We can’t get around cutting our costs. It won’t be easy, but there’s no getting round it,” he said.

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