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Airbus Group and Safran launch joint venture named Airbus Safran Launchers

12/03/2014 | Airbus Group

Airbus Group and Safran launch joint venture named Airbus Safran Launchers
Airbus Group and Safran have announced the creation of their new Joint Venture named Airbus Safran Launchers.

With an initial workforce of around 450, starting operations on 1 January 2015, Airbus Safran Launchers will maintain the outstanding level of quality and reliability of Ariane 5, while working on a new family of state-of-the-art space launchers to foster Europe’s leading role in the space industry. The new company will bring together the expertise of both Airbus Group and Safran in space launchers at key Franco-German industrial sites. The Joint Venture’s headquarters will be located in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris.

This first transaction follows the announcement in June 2014 by Airbus Group and Safran regarding their intention to pool their respective space launcher activities to boost competitiveness and ensure the profitability of the European space launcher business in the face of growing international competition.

Airbus Group and Safran welcome yesterday’s approval by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Ministerial Conference for the development and production of a new Ariane 6 space launcher. Both companies have made a far-reaching industrial proposal for Ariane 6 and its endorsement was critical for the Joint Venture’s creation. The industry proposal naturally assumes an in-principle agreement for the transfer to the JV of shares in Arianespace held by the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, France’s space agency.

“With this Joint Venture, industry has made a strong statement and has assumed leadership to foster Europe’s autonomous access to space. Yesterday’s ESA Ministerial Conference will be remembered as the one that decided upon a new Ariane launcher family for the next decades and opened a new chapter in the way Europe conducts and manages its space ambitions. If we want to successfully counter growing international competition and prevent the risk of Europe’s space sector from being marginalized, a lot more has to be done. Therefore, we hope that this ESA Ministerial Conference serves as a catalyst to transform the way institutional space agencies operate and interface with industry in the future,” said Tom Enders, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Group.

“The creation of Airbus Safran Launchers immediately after the Ministerial Conference is much more than a symbol, it is a sign of our strong engagement and our ability to deploy our resources and meet our commitments. This is precisely what we will continue to do to ensure that all stakeholders – industry and European States – are able to pursue the remarkable success of the Ariane programme and continue to guarantee independent, reliable and competitive access to space for Europe.

I strongly believe Airbus Safran Launchers will be a major worldwide player in the launcher domain, poised to capture market growth and better serve institutional as well as commercial customers. Indeed, Europe has all it needs to be in a pole position in the race for technologies, which will be, as in the past, highly beneficial for the whole aerospace industry,” said Jean-Paul Herteman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Safran.

Enders and Herteman also thanked the teams at Airbus Group and Safran who over the last months have prepared the establishment of the new company in record time. With the support of customers and shareholders, most regulatory approvals and consultations such as those from the competition authorities, Arianespace and the two Groups’ Works Councils have been completed for the transaction. Closing is expected on 31 December 2014 after completion of final formalities.

This signature launches the first, initial phase of the transaction. In a second phase, all activities of Airbus Group and Safran dealing with space launchers will be integrated in the Joint Venture.

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