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Airbus Mulls Stake in German Supplier

Airplane maker Airbus is in talks to buy a majority stake in a German supplier that is facing a liquidity squeeze, Reuters reported. The company, PFW, is owned by private equity company Safeguard International.

(Reuters) – Plane maker Airbus is in talks to buy a majority stake in one of its German suppliers that is facing a liquidity squeeze, parent company EADS said.

“Airbus as a major customer of PFW is ready to take over the company in its severe liquidity crisis,” a spokesman for EADS said on Thursday, confirming a report in German daily Financial Times Deutschland.

“The company is an important supplier for Airbus, especially the A350.”

PFW, whose tubes transport air and fuel in Airbus’s A350 and A380 aircraft and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, generated sales of 214 million euros ($293 million) in 2010, according to its website.

This would not be the first time that Airbus has stepped in to help a supplier in a bind.

It provided France’s Latecoere industrial and financing support last year. The debt-laden company has been looking for a buyer as it struggles to absorb investments needed to stay on board big aircraft projects such as the A350.

The spokesman for EADS said talks to buy a stake from PFW’s owner, private equity company Safeguard International, were taking place. Any deal would also need regulatory approval.

“It is the objective to lead PFW out of the actual crisis,” he said, adding PFW’s medium and long-term prospects were promising.

PFW, based in the southwestern German city of Speyer, was not immediately available for comment. Parent company Safeguard International did not have an immediate comment.

FT Deutschland said PFW was hit by delayed aircraft programmes and high development costs. ($1 = 0.730 Euros)

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)