Daimler selling 7.5% stake in Airbus aircraft make Eads

BERLIN (AFP) - German automaker Daimler said on Tuesday it has put its strategic 7.5 per cent stake in the European aerospace and defence group Eads up for sale.

"Daimler announces the offer and sale of its 61.1 million shares in Eads through an accelerated book built offering, launched immediately. Through this placement, Daimler is selling its entire remaining equity interest, approximately 7.5 per cent, in Eads," a statement said, adding that Eads intended to buy some of the shares for 600 million euros (S$973 million). The company said the pricing of the offer was expected to take place on April 17.

Daimler had already sold a 7.5 per cent holding in Eads for 1.66 billion euros in December to concentrate on cars and trucks. The carmaker's exit is part of a broader overhaul of Eads' shareholder structure.

The news comes after Eads said on Monday it was in talks to buy 1.56 per cent of its own shares from the French state for 478 million euros.

Eads said the French state had proposed a price of 37.35 euros per share, the price Eads paid last week to acquire a stake of 1.61 per cent from French media company Lagardere.

Eads, which owns passenger aircraft maker Airbus, announced a share buyback programme earlier this month as part of a wider restructuring aimed at reducing state ownership and interference in the company.

Germany and Spain also own stakes in the aerospace and defence giant.

France, which is struggling to meet its commitments to the European Union to reduce its public deficit, last month took advantage of high prices for shares in the aircraft engine and equipment manufacturer Safran to sell a 3.12 per cent stake and raise 448.5 million euros.