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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia's Role in Plane Maker in Doubt

bloombergAirbus employees demonstrating against job cuts at the aircraft maker's factory in Varel, Germany, on Thursday.
BERLIN -- New shareholders should not be admitted to European plane maker EADS's shareholder pact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a newspaper interview when asked about allowing Russian investors to buy into the company.

"At the moment, we should not take any more shareholders into the EADS shareholder pact," Merkel told Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published Monday.

"But I support closer industrial cooperation in aircraft construction, as EADS has already begun," she added.

EADS is a mainly French and German concern assembled from a European merger of aerospace and defense interests that also included Spain in 2000. The aerospace group is run along careful power-sharing lines enshrined in a shareholder pact.

State-owned Vneshtorgbank rang alarm bells in Paris and Berlin last year when it acquired a 5 percent stake in EADS.

Last year, Merkel made it clear to President Vladimir Putin that it was not desirable for Russia to take a bigger stake in EADS.

Putin has repeatedly complained that Russian firms are being unfairly rebuffed in European markets.

Russia is trying to revamp its aerospace sector, which is still suffering from post-Soviet woes, and wants to integrate its key industries into the world economy.

In Paris, a top aide to French presidential candidate Segolene Royal said Monday that France should bring in new private investors to help troubled Airbus who are more "reliable" than its current core French and German partners.

Michel Sapin, a former Socialist finance minister, also said governments had a role to play but added that private capital was necessary at a time when Airbus were facing financing difficulties.