In April, after the share price of the Franco-German aeronautics and defense firm EADS reached an all-time high of 35 euros per share, the French Lagardère Group and the German firm DaimlerChrysler each sold off major parts of their capital holdings in the company. Daimler reduced its stake in EADS from 30% to 22.5% and Lagardère from 15% to 7.5%. The French state continues to hold a 15% stake in EADS. On Wednesday, following the announcement of delays in the delivery of its A380 "super-jumbo" jet by EADS-subsidiary Airbus, the share price of EADS plunged 26.32% to 18.73 euros: nearly half of the price at the beginning of April.
Arnauld Lagardère, CEO of Lagardère and co-Chair of the Board of Directors of EADS, had the following to say in an interview in the 16 June edition of Le Monde:
I have the choice of being taken for someone who is dishonest or someone who is incompetent and doesn’t know what’s going on in his factories. I accept [j'assume] the second version.
The Lagardère Group is, incidentally, also a major shareholder in Le Monde – which perhaps explains why the excerpted quote that is set in relief in the paper version of the paper is not the above-cited, but rather the following: "If we were dishonest we would not have sold 7.5% of the capital, but all of it."
- June 16th, 2006