French unions are claiming victory in their battle to stop Airbus selling some of its factories. But the European plane maker said the credit crisis, rather than union opposition, was the reason it had dropped plans to sell two of its French plants to one of its suppliers Latecoere.
Airbus does expect to complete a deal to sell its Filton wings factory in south west England to GKN of Britain. The French factories at Meaulte and Saint-Nazaire will be spun off into a separate subsidiary ready for sale talks later. The same thing will happen with three German plants. Talks to sell them to MT Aerospace collapsed last month.
Airbus boss Tom Enders has complained the dollar’s weakness against the euro is causing the company major problems. And industry officials said the planemaker and its suppliers could not agree how to share the currency risk involved in partnership plans to develop lightweight composite materials for future aircraft at the sites.
The plant sales were part of the Airbus’ restructuring, needed to make savings and bring it back into profit.