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Aerospace

EADS shareholders approve reforms, cut state influence

EADS shareholders have supported a plan aimed at limiting German and French state influence in the European aerospace company. The move will substantially enhance the firm's competitiveness, its CEO believes.

Shareholders in European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company overwhelmingly adopted a set of 15 amendments aimed at dissolving the company's original shareholders' pact which dated back to the founding of EADS in 2000.

At an extraordinary shareholders' meeting in Amsterdam on Wednesday, the Dutch-registered aerospace giant approved a structural reform, restricting EADS shareholdings by the governments of France, Germany and Spain to a maximum of 30 percent.

In addition, the amendments allow two of the group's founding shareholders, German automaker Daimler and French media group Lagardere, to sell their stakes in EADS.

Moreover, an expanded board of directors of 12 members from six countries will now be allowed to make decisions on acquisitions, alliances and mergers without having to seek approval by any of the three state governments. However, France, Germany and Spain will maintain an influence on strategic issues affecting national security.

EADS and BAE Systems End Merger Talks

Noting that the company's board would become fully independent, Chief Executive Tom Enders said that EADS would now become a normal company.

CEO Enders had pressed for the reforms after the German government last October blocked his plan to merge EADS with British defense company BAE Systems.

On Wednesday, EADS shareholders also approved a shares buyback of 15 percent under efforts to drive EADS' free-floating stock below 70 percent.

uhe/mz (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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