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Last Trade - 16/04/21

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Market Cap £69.95bn
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UPDATE 1-France's Dassault eyes Plan B if European fighter talks fail

Fri 5th March, 2021 11:43am
(Adds details)
    PARIS, March 5 (Reuters) - The chief executive of French
planemaker Dassault Aviation  AVMD.PA  raised the prospect of an
alternative plan on Friday if talks between France, Germany and
Spain on a joint fighter plane break down, but said he still
believes in the project.
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President
Emmanuel Macron first floated the venture in 2017 but it has
become mired in mistrust and differing visions between Berlin
and Paris as well as corporate infighting over workshare, people
close to the talks have said. Spain's decision to join the
project last year further slowed discussions.
    "I don’t believe it's in mortal danger but I'm not going to
tell you that the patient is not in difficulty," Dassault's CEO
Eric Trappier said of the project formally launched in 2019.
    "The head of a company must always have a Plan B in mind. He
does everything to ensure Plan A succeeds, everything. But the
day Plan A doesn't work you need a Plan B," he told a news
conference when asked what would happen if the talks failed.    
    Trappier said Dassault had accepted that European planemaker
Airbus  AIR.PA  would have a larger overall share under an equal
three-way split agreed by the partners, since it represents the
military aircraft industries of both Germany and Spain.
    But that did not mean all parts of the work could be split
equally with no clear leadership, he added.
    A key stumbling block concerns the control of technologies
like flight controls, for which France claims the upper hand
since Dassault builds fighter planes and business jets on its
own and Airbus has its civil engineering offices in Toulouse.
    "If nobody is running flight controls it's not possible, it
won't work: you have to have someone in charge," Trappier said.
    He played down a separate dispute over access to know-how,
saying Dassault and Airbus had a shared industrial understanding
of the way intellectual property is protected. That discussion
is mainly being conducted at a political level, he added.
    Trappier said a merger between FCAS and the BAE Systems-led
 BAES.L  Tempest project involving Britain, Sweden and Italy was
"not on the agenda". 

 (Reporting by Tim Hepher; editing by Jason Neely and Elaine
 ((; +33 1 49 49 54 52; Reuters
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