Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), a 50/50 joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space and Safran, has officially become the majority shareholder of Arianespace. ASL finalised the acquisition of the 35% stake held by the French space agency CNES on 30th November, taking its total stake to 74%.
The stakes held by the other shareholders, from the European launcher industry, remain unchanged.
Arianespace governance is modified accordingly. CNES becomes a statutory censor on the Arianespace board, the same position held by the European Space Agency (ESA). On 9th December, a General Meeting of Arianespace shareholders will therefore note the resignation of the three directors representing CNES, who will be replaced by three directors appointed by ASL.
Arianespace remains a full-fledged company, with its headquarters in Évry, near Paris; a facility in Kourou, French Guiana; and offices in Washington D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.
This latest move in the shakeup of the European space sector follows the green light from the European Commission, after ASL announced measures to address concerns that the transaction would give rise to flows of sensitive information between Airbus and Arianespace to the detriment of competing satellite manufacturers and launch service providers. The Commission okayed the deal in July, three weeks after ASL became fully operational.
ASL is prime contractor for Ariane 5 and the future Ariane 6. It manages the entire industrial supply chain, from the manufacture of equipment and stages to the complete integration of the launcher in French Guiana.