State-owned French aerospace giant Aerospatiale was last week asked by the French Government to present proposals for its stock market flotation, if this is needed to forge alliances with other European companies like British Aerospace and Germany’s Dasa.
The surprise announcement by French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin creates the opportunity for a European aerospace giant based around Airbus, the airliner consortium, with the size to compete with the US giants Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon.
The French move follows repeated statements by BAe and Dasa that they would not join with Aerospatiale in any large European aerospace company while the French state retained ultimate control of the firm.
Aerospatiale took over the rights to the French state’s 46% stake in the fighter builder Dassault earlier this month, which would give any new European company which included a publicly floated Aerospatiale extra industrial influence.
Aerospatiale chairman Yves Michot said in a speech to the European Association of Aerospace Industries on the day after the flotation move that restructuring was needed in many parts of Europe’s aerospace sector for it to compete on the world stage.