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VTB decision to sell EADS stake hinges on market situation - exec

MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) -- Vneshtorgbank (VTB), Russia's state-run foreign-trade bank, said Friday its further participation in the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) will depend on the market situation.

EADS, a parent company of aircraft-maker Airbus, announced plans earlier this week to cut 10,000 jobs and sell or close six of its 16 plants, following FedEx Corp.'s November decision to cancel its order for 10 A380 freighters, leaving Airbus with only 10 orders from one remaining customer, United Parcel Service Inc.

Last year, VTB bought a 5% stake in EADS for 1 billion euros, which raised concerns that Russia may seek to boost its interest in EADS to gain more influence on the European aerospace market.

"We are still EADS shareholders. We have always said that this is a purely commercial deal. We will decide on what to do with our stake depending on the market situation," VTB Senior Vice President Vasily Titov said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he expected cooperation with EADS to be fruitful.

EADS has been considered a welcome partner for United Aircraft Building Corporation (UABC), a new umbrella company for Russia's aircraft industry being formed to consolidate major domestic assets in aircraft manufacturing in a bid to streamline the sector.

Putin said the purchase of a stake in EADS was not a hostile takeover.

"We are ready for constructive interaction and we would like the companies to reach an agreement [on further cooperation]," he said.

But he said that if such an agreement was not attained, financial institutions would work with the shares on the stock market.

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