Germany: still ready to talk with Airbus on fought-over loan

Reuters
An A380 aircraft is seen through a window with an Airbus logo during the EADS / Airbus 'New Year Press Conference' in Hamburg
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An A380 aircraft is seen through a window with an Airbus logo during the EADS / Airbus 'New Year Press Conference' in Hamburg January 17, 2012. REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's government is still ready to negotiate with Airbus over payment of a long-disputed development loan worth more than 600 million euros, the economy ministry said on Friday, denying a newspaper report that talks with the planemaker had failed.

"The economy ministry remains willing to talk. We expect that a constructive solution is possible," the ministry said in a statement.

"Airbus has committed to strengthening the research and development capacities in Germany. The economy ministry is awaiting concrete proposals and their implementation."

Earlier, German daily Die Welt quoted from a paper, which Airbus had sent to those German federal states that are home to the planemaker's bases, that the drawn-out talks had "realistically speaking finally failed".

Germany and Airbus have been at loggerheads over the remaining 623 million euro part of a 1.1 billion euro loan. They have fought over the allocation of jobs for Airbus A350 jets and sources have said Airbus is unwilling to give guarantees over the share of work on the latest jet as long as Germany holds back the loan.

Berlin, for its part, wants guarantees about work on future Airbus projects and says Airbus has not stuck to its commitment.

Despite having a working share of 34 percent in Airbus' long-distance plane A350, Germany has only paid 15 percent of the European development loan, "practically forcing Airbus to correct its German working share downwards", the newspaper said.

Airbus (EAD.PA) declined comment.

A source close to the company said Chief Executive Tom Enders - who is also upset over Germany's obstruction of a planned merger last year with BAE Systems (BAES.L) - was considering reducing the share of A350s built in Germany.

(Reporting by Gernot Heller, additional reporting by Jens Hack, writing by Annika Breidthardt, editing by Gareth Jones)

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