Germany should drop a clause in a foreign-trade law that lets the government block purchases of larger stakes in domestic companies because the rule can impede investments, Airbus SAS (EAD) Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said.
The clause requires a foreign investor to inform the government of the intention to purchase 25 percent or more of a German company, and the government then has a month to study and potentially halt the offer. Enders said the rule curtails the entrepreneurial freedom of companies at a time when the inflow of foreign capital would help support domestic industry.
“We will enter a long drought in Germany and in Europe, and companies will need to work harder to be successful with exports,” said Enders, speaking in Berlin as president of the German BDLI aviation association at its annual press conference. “It should be in the government’s interest to allow foreign participation that generates additional business and helps through this drought.”
Enders declined to say if Airbus parent European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. (EADS) should also allow access to a foreign investor. Europe’s largest aerospace company is partly owned by the governments of France and Germany, an involvement that Enders has criticized. Enders will move up to lead all of EADS later this year when current CEO Louis Gallois retires.
Germany’s civil aerospace industry in 2012 will be similarly successful to last year, as demand for aircraft supports the business of suppliers, Enders said. Maintaining the strength of the supply chain is among the main tasks of the large manufacturers, who are allocating “hundreds” of employees to collaborate with suppliers, Enders said.
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