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Clifford Chance advises Airbus Group on its Joint Venture with Safran

9 December 2014

Clifford Chance advises Airbus Group on its Joint Venture with Safran

Clifford Chance advises Airbus Group on the creation with Safran of their new Joint Venture named Airbus Safran Launchers.

With an initial workforce of around 450, starting operations on 1 January 2015, Airbus Safran Launchers will maintain the outstanding level of quality and reliability of Ariane 5, while working on a new family of state-of-the-art space launchers to foster Europe’s leading role in the space industry. The new company will bring together the expertise of both Airbus Group and Safran in space launchers at key Franco-German industrial sites. The Joint Venture’s headquarters will be located in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris.

This first transaction follows the announcement in June 2014 by Airbus Group and Safran regarding their intention to pool their respective space launcher activities to boost competitiveness and ensure the profitability of the European space launcher business in the face of growing international competition.

The European Space Agency’s (ESA Approval of Industrial Ariane 6 Proposal Confirms the Relevance of the Joint Venture for the development and production of a new Ariane 6 space launcher. Both companies have made a far-reaching industrial proposal for Ariane 6 and its endorsement was critical for the Joint Venture’s creation. The industry proposal naturally assumes an in-principle agreement for the transfer to the JV of shares in Arianespace held by the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, France’s space agency.

Enders and Herteman also thanked the teams at Airbus Group and Safran who over the last months have prepared the establishment of the new company in record time. With the support of customers and shareholders, most regulatory approvals and consultations such as those from the competition authorities, Arianespace and the two Groups’ Works Councils have been completed for the transaction. Closing is expected on 31 December 2014 after completion of final formalities.

This signature launches the first, initial phase of the transaction. In a second phase, all activities of Airbus Group and Safran dealing with space launchers will be in integrated in the Joint Venture.

The Clifford Chance team led by Gilles Lebreton (Partner) advising Airbus Group consists of Fabrice Cohen, Thierry Schoen and Nicole Englisch (Partners), Sue Palmer (Counsel), Marine Jamain (Associate) who coordinated the corporate advice, supported by Dessi Savova (Partner), Olivier Gaillard (Counsel), Alexandre Manasterski (Associate), Grégory Sroussi (Associate) on commercial contracts aspects, Marion Roquette-Pfister (Counsel), Daphné Célet (Associate), Jean-Baptiste Mérigot de Treigny (Associate) on Public law, Marie-Laure Combet (Associate), Clarisse Chapat (Associate) on Antitrust, Anne Sophie Cammas (Associate), Jocelyn Hagneau (Associate) on employment issues, David Gérard (Associate) on Real Estate and Emmanuelle Levy (Associate) on intellectual property aspects.