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Dubai Aerospace wants to buy Airbus factories

Dubai state investment fund bought a 3.12-per cent stake in the Airbus parent company EADS earlier this year, Dubai's state-backed aviation major Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has said it is interested in buying factories that European plane maker Airbus puts up for sale.

Dubai-based airline Emirates is the biggest customer for Airbus's new A380 super jumbo aircraft.

In a radical restructuring plan announced earlier this year, Airbus said it would sell outright or spin off two factories in France, four in Germany, and one in Britain, and that another is likely to be added to the list.

The group will reveal the names of the buyers at the end of next month, though German engineering group Voith is reported to be interested in taking over some of the German plants.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, founded last year, is jointly owned by the state and investment companies based in Dubai. Any DAE acquisition of Airbus factories will have to go through intense political scrutiny since Airbus is considered a strategic company by the French and German governments, which jointly control the group.

Companies that buy the factories - either outright or partially - will become strategic partners for the group. The sell-off is part of its 'Power8' cost-cutting initiative, which aims to trim costs by 30 per cent, and cut 10,000 jobs by 2010.

DAE plans to invest about $15 billion to establish its business over the next few years. The company says it wants to do "everything related to aviation". It is also bidding for up to 60 per cent of the company that runs Auckland International Airport, New Zealand's largest air hub.

It is also interested in London's Gatwick airport. Earlier this month, it bought two airline service providers, Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation, from US-based investment group Carlyle Group at a cost of $1.9 billion.

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