28 Dec 06. The wooden spoon for keeping shareholders and the Press up to date must go to EADS and Airbus for their crass handling of the A380 debacle last year. The investigations into the share dealing of some top employees could give a clue as to why the communicators dragged their feet or could it just be cock-up not conspiracy? Certainly the main shareholders, BAE, DaimlerChrylser and Lagardere were locked in until this year, so logic would suggest that they would like to receive the best price in the event of a sale. Certainly the BAE share sale caught the main flack as the seriousness of the issue became clear at a time when the company expected at least £3bn for its shares and ended up with £1.9bn. BATTLESPACE became aware of a problem with the A3780 when it received information that Rolls-Royce was desperate for 16 engineers to solve a thrust problem due to weight concerns. The rest as they say is history, but the debacle has seriously damaged the reoutaion of Europe’s only civil aircraft manufacturer. Like Boeing the Company will eventually recover but there is still pain to come. Perhaps gallic flair in selling aircraft from a computer model should be curtailed to add a bit of German Engineering know-how spiced up with a Brit or two to settle any infighting!! Expect more bad news particularly from the A400M project in 2007 plus a possible down-turn in air travel as the world economy cools. But, at the end of the day shareholders money is safer in EADS in the long-term, but to be avoided in the short to medium term.
28 Dec 06. An association of Siemens AG employees who hold stock in the German engineering and technology company say they plan to withhold their approval of management at a stockholders meeting next month amid a corruption scandal. The shareholders, in a letter dated Dec. 13, said they will denounce the company’s executives at the annual meeting in January. They gave several reasons, including what they called management’s failure to apply internal rules that might have prevented the alleged corruption, and 30% raises for some directors even as the company slashed some jobs and cut wages of employees. “A short-term shareholders policy,” the letter said, “unreasonable raises for the board of directors and the corruption allegations have led to unacceptable loss of trust in the company.” The shareholder approval of management is a formality but offers disgruntled investors a chance to show displeasure by withholding their votes. Six current or former Siemens employees, including the ex-head of its telecommunications-equipment unit, Thomas Ganswindt, were detained in November after Munich prosecutors ordered raids on company offices across Germany. Investigators accuse the six of committing breach of trust against Siemens in cases going back to 2002 by setting up secret funds outside Germany. Siemens says it has identified suspicious payments involving some €420m ($550m). (Source: WSJ/Associated Press)
04 Jan 07. Catalonian tycoon’s Cobham stake likely to trigger takeover speculation. Cobham will be in focus this morning after one of the richest men in Catalonia declared a 5 per cent stake in the £2.2bn aerospace and defence group. Shortly after the market closed last night, Rio Ebro, an investment vehicle controlled by wealthy industrialist Francesc Rubiralta Vilaseca, revealed it owned 57m Cobham shares. The move is likely to puzzle investors as Mr Vilaseca has had no interests in the aerospace and defence sector until now. His main business is Celsa, a steel products company based just outside Barcelona. People close to Cobham claimed the holding, worth £111m, was a long-term investment. However, the move is likely to trigger renewed takeover speculation. Cobham said it would be seeking to open dialogue with Mr Vilaseca as soon as possible. Its shares closed 0.5 per cent weaker at 195½p. (Source: FT.com)
03 Jan 07. Millennium Cell Inc. (NASDAQ: MCEL), a leading developer of hydrogen battery techn