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27 May 03. European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV (EADS)
said its Airbus Military subsidiary has signed a contract today, Tuesday worth €20bn to launch the A400M military-transport aircraft program.

It is the largest defense order ever booked by EADS and will boost EADS’ defense revenue to nearly €10bn by 2005, compared with €6.0bn in 2002, the company said.

The contract was signed on Tuesday in Germany between Airbus Military and OCCAR, the procurement agency representing France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Luxembourg and the U.K.

EADS said that the first revenue from the A400M program will be generated this year, and said a total amount of about €2.0bn is expected between 2003 and 2005.

The A400M order doubles EADS’ order book to €40bn. The seven-nation A400M program for 180 four-engined aircraft will offer European armed-forces transportation capability allowing them to move troops and equipment to trouble spots around the world.

The A400M project has been on the drawing-board for more than 20 years, and it has been dogged by problems as governments, faced with squeezed budgets, scaled back their orders or pulled out completely. Italy and Portugal were originally involved but subsequently pulled out, and Germany slashed its order to 60 aircraft from 73 last December. France has ordered 60 A400Ms, France 50, Spain 27, the U.K. 25, Turkey 10, Belgium seven and Luxembourg one.

EADS said the A400M program will create and secure a total of 40,000 jobs at manufacturers and suppliers over a period of 20 years. Together with Airbus, EADS has a 90% share in the A400M program and leads the consortium of participating companies, and is responsible for final assembly of the planes in Seville, Spain. EADS group work-share in the program will reflect its 20.6% shareholding in Airbus Military and Airbus’ 69.4% stake in its military unit. Airbus is 80%- controlled by EADS. EADS said it will consolidate 100% of the A400M program in its accounts.

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