EADS wants U.S. growth regardless of tanker-paper

PARIS, April 8 (BestGrowthStock) – European aerospace and defence
group EADS (EAD.PA: ) will continue to expand in the United States
even if it does not bid for a major U.S. aerial refuelling
contract, the chairman of its board of directors told Les Echos
newspaper.

Bodo Uebber, finance chief of Daimler (DAIGn.DE: ) which owns a
22.46 percent stake in EADS, said in an interview published in
the French newspaper on Thursday the decision would not affect
the Vision 2020 plan announced in January 2008.

The 12-year strategy aims to “rebalance” EADS as a global
company with less reliance on airliner sales for its revenues
and on high-cost European factories for its engineering and
production work.

The group is considering whether to bid for the Pentagon’s
multibillion dollar contract for aerial refuelling aircraft
after U.S. partner Northrop Grumman (NOC.N: ) pulled out of the
race and the Pentagon pledged to extend the deadline for a bid.

“We don’t change a plan like that because one contract is
lost. What can change is the ways to reach the goals. Given the
extent of its portfolio, EADS has a number of routes open to it
to develop in the United States and beyond: helicopters, space,
security, services … we could also progress through
acquisitions,” Uebber said.

“We have not pursued certain projects in the past to protect
the group’s treasury. But if air traffic and the economy in
general pick up again then we could seize opportunities.”

Uebber said the company would have to draw lessons on
programme and risk management from the troubled A400M military
aircraft project which has suffered a raft of technical problems
and delays.

“But we should also learn lessons, in agreement with our
customers, on the way of making contracts. The board is also
going to look into that subject in depth and has given some of
its members the task of proposing solutions by the end of the
quarter,” he said.

Stock Research Tools

(Reporting by Helen Massy-Beresford; editing by Karen Foster)

EADS wants U.S. growth regardless of tanker-paper