EADS CEO Planning U.S. Acquisition Spending Spree

Chief Executive of Airbus’ parent company said he is aiming at ‘medium-sized companies’ in the U.S. but didn’t name potential targets.

DONAUWOERTH, Germany (AP) — European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV is planning a spending spree in the United States, Chief Executive Louis Gallois said Thursday, to take advantage of a weak dollar that has pummeled the company for months.
''Now is the right time to strike in the U.S. because the dollar is very low,'' Gallois said.
The parent company of Airbus is aiming at ''medium-sized companies'' in the U.S., he said without naming potential targets.
Gallois has complained loudly about the dollar's fall, saying that for every 10 cent rise in the euro, Airbus loses 1 billion euros ($1.5 billion). The European planemaker sells its jets in dollars, though many of its costs remain in euros.
By 2020, 20 percent of EADS employees should be working outside of Europe and 40 percent of its supplies should come from non-European countries, he said.
''We won't move plants from Europe to the U.S., but some of plants in Europe could shift their additional work,'' Gallois said.
Gallois said he wanted to reduce EADS' dependence on Airbus, saying ''it is a risk for the company'' that two-thirds of EADS' sales are dependent on the planemaker.
Besides Airbus, EADS has four other divisions: military transport, defense and security, Eurocopter — which makes helicopters — and EADS Astrium, its space industry unit.
Gallois announced ''serious measures'' to expand the company's percentage of weapons production to 50 percent.
Airbus has received record new orders in 2007, Gallois has said, but he declined say if Airbus outpaced rival Boeing — as analysts expect.
''Customers see Airbus and Boeing as equals, and that's the only thing that matters,'' he said.
Last week, Boeing Co. said it sold 1,413 commercial jets in 2007 while delivering 441 planes, its best showing in six years. Airbus had delivered 410 planes and logged 1,204 orders as of the end of November, the latest update available.
More in Supply Chain