Airbus Safran Launchers to become 74% shareholder of Arianespace

Le Bourget, 16 June 2015

  • Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), the French state and CNES, the French space agency, have reached an agreement to transfer CNES's stake in Arianespace to ASL.
  • Once the project has undergone all the required employee consultation and regulatory approval procedures, Airbus Safran Launchers will become a 74% shareholder in Arianespace

This agreement, announced at the Paris Air Show, on the changes in Arianespace's shareholding signals a major step forward in the overhaul of the governance of the European launcher industry. This project follows on from the need expressed by the ESA's member states to develop a new launcher system, Ariane 6, with industry assuming overall commercial responsibility.

"This announcement is an important step as it will enable us, in agreement with the other European industrial shareholders, to optimise the industrial sector right through to the launch operator while retaining all the key factors of Arianespace's success," said Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Safran Launchers. "I would like to thank the European space agencies, particularly CNES, and the DLR and ASI, for their support and trust. The new governance being introduced for Ariane 6, following the decisions made at the ESA Ministerial Council meeting at the end of 2014, will help create an industrial sector that is both more competitive and more efficient for its customers."

In the weeks ahead, Airbus Safran Launchers should receive notification from ESA of the Ariane 6 development contract.

Airbus Safran Launchers is already Arianespace's biggest shareholder with approximately 39%.

This plan to purchase the Arianespace shares held by CNES (approximately 35%) is part of the ambitious three-point initiative announced just one year ago by the Airbus and Safran Groups to:

  • Create a joint subsidiary (Airbus Safran Launchers) that combines their expertise and assets in commercial and military space launchers
  • Develop the new Ariane 6 launcher system, to be more competitive and adaptable to market needs
  • Introduce a new mode of governance for European launcher programmes with industry assuming full responsibility for the commercial operations.

The transaction should be finalized in the coming months, after the completion of all regulatory consultation and approval procedures.

About Airbus Safran Launchers

The creation of Airbus Safran Launchers opens a new chapter in the history of the launcher industry. Reflecting the joint ambition of Airbus Group and Safran to boost the European space industry to unscaled heights, our new company will develop innovative and competitive solutions by uniting the strengths of two leading contributors to modern launch vehicles.

Airbus Safran Launchers is equally owned, combining Airbus Defence and Space's expertise in launchers (especially in France and Germany), and Safran's expertise in liquid and solid rocket propulsion.

Herakles, a Safran company, designs, develops, produces and sells solid rocket motors, energetic materials and equipment, and thermostructural and organic composite materials for the defense, aerospace, automotive and manufacturing industries. Herakles provides products and services for a number of applications, including strategic and tactical missiles, launch vehicles, civil and military aircraft, automotive safety systems and tooling for manufacturers.

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