Safran Injects $1 Billion into Rocket Partnership With Airbus

Artist's impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)
Artist’s impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Airbus and Safran have ramped up their launch vehicle partnership:

Airbus and Safran said their joint venture to take over design and production of Europe’s Ariane 5 and future Ariane 6 rockets is expected to be in full operations by late 2015 following a Safran payment to Airbus of 800 million euros ($1 billion) in cash.

The transfer, both companies said, will be necessary for French aerospace-engine builder Safran to maintain a 50 percent stake in the new company, which was created in January and is called Airbus Safran Launchers.

In conference calls with investors Feb. 25 and Feb. 27, the two companies said that in addition to assuming the civil-launcher and strategic missiles work of the two companies, the joint venture by late 2015 is expected to have purchased the French government’s entire 34 percent ownership stake in the Arianespace commercial launch consortium.

Ultimately the joint venture is expected to have some 4,500 employees. For now, it is only 450 people — 300 from Airbus, the rest from Safran.

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