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Aerospatiale May Go to Outsiders

May 27, 1998

PARIS (AP) _ The French government said Wednesday it had asked the president of Aerospatiale to make plans to let outsiders buy a stake in the state-owned company and list it on the stock exchange.

Reversing its earlier position, the government of Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said it had requested the plan to help the aerospace giant create partnerships.

Aerospatiale, along with Germany’s Daimler-Benz Aerospace GmbH, British Aerospace PLC and Spain’s Construcciones Aeronauticas SA, is a partner in European aviation consortium Airbus Industrie.

The partners are trying to transform the consortium into a unified company by January 1, 1999. They have fallen behind schedule, and part of the problem has been concern by Aerospatiale’s partners about its failure to make stock available to minority shareholders.

In a statement, the French government also said it had given Aerospatiale ``a mandate to conclude rapidly strategic alliances necessary, notably in the sectors for fighter aircraft, tactical missiles and space launchers.″

Since becoming prime minister last June, Jospin on several occasions said that Aerospatiale would not be privatized.

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