REFILE-WRAPUP 1-Airbus in fresh talks on troubled troop plane

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* Talks to solve A400M funding crisis resume in Berlin

* Meetings in Paris, Istanbul could also seal plane’s fate

* Newspaper says Spain proposes higher aid offer

By Dave Graham

BERLIN, Feb 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Airbus resumed talks with European
government buyers on Thursday in a frantic bid to prevent a
massive cost overrun from killing off the multinational A400M
military transport plane.

The 20 billion-euro project is four years late and 11.2
billion euros over budget, threatening up to 10,000 jobs.

EADS (EAD.PA: ) unit Airbus is appealing to a group of seven
NATO nations for billions of euros in extra financial support to
commit to full production of the plane, which made a maiden
flight in December.

Junior defence ministers and arms procurement officials met
EADS executives at the defence ministry on Thursday.

Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and
Turkey ordered 180 of the troop planes in 2003 to support
increasingly global operations.

The meeting is part of a trio of talks across Europe that
could determine the outcome of Europe’s largest defence project.

French and German leaders could discuss the issue at a
bilateral summit in Paris on Thursday, but a French official
said no joint statement had been prepared. [ID:nLDE6122JM]

In Istanbul, NATO defence ministers were gathering for two
days of talks on Afghanistan and delegates said partners in the
A400M project could discuss the funding crisis on the sidelines.

Talks broke off last week over a 2.4 billion gap in the
amount each side is prepared to invest to keep the project
afloat, with EADS seeking 4.4 billion euros in extra support and
buyers offering 2 billion.

But sources close to the talks said on Wednesday the
differences had narrowed.

Spain has proposed that buyer nations pay 2.6 billion euros
towards cost overruns, newspaper El Pais said on Thursday,
citing a defence ministry letter. [ID:nLDE613043]

The A400M is designed to put soldiers and heavy equipment in
rugged combat zones like Afghanistan, and would-be customers say
they want it in service as soon as possible, filling a gap in
airlift capabilities between Boeing’s (BA.N: ) jet-powered C-17
Globemasters and the smaller Lockheed Martin (LMT.N: ) C-130
Hercules turboprops.

The A400M project has been held up by engine and other
technical problems, sparking testy exchanges between Germany,
its biggest projected buyer, and Airbus parent EADS (EAD.PA: ).
Other buyers are France, Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and
Turkey.

Germany called on Wednesday for an urgent solution to the
row, but a French official said the parties aimed for a deal by
the end of February, weeks later than EADS would like.

EADS is under pressure to close its 2009 accounts which
could include billions of euros of writedowns on the A400M.

Stock Market Trading

(Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski, Juliken Toyer, Tim
Hepher; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

REFILE-WRAPUP 1-Airbus in fresh talks on troubled troop plane