Airbus Group-Dassault Aviation Deal
Airbus to sell 15% stake in France's Dassault Aviation.Reuters

Airbus Group is selling a further 15% stake in France's Dassault Aviation, as it continues to monetise its holding in the maker of the Rafale fighter jets.

The move will see Airbus' stake drop from 42% to around 27%, the firm said in a 25 March statement.

Airbus said it will sell about 1.38 million ordinary shares in the French planemaker at nothing less than €980 each to institutional investors and to Dassault, which will buy some 460,000 shares at €980 apiece.

The offer prices compare with Dassault's closing share price of €1,240 on 24 March in Paris. Trading in the stock has been suspended and could resume on 27 March.

The sale could help Airbus rake in as much as €1.4bn (£1.03bn, $1.5bn), Bloomberg reported.

Airbus said in the statement: "The French State has elected not to exercise its right of first refusal under the shareholder agreement with Airbus Group with respect to the shares to be sold in the placement.

"...Should the placement price be higher than €980 per share, the price of the shares sold in the placement to Dassault Aviation will remain at €980 while the price of the shares to be sold to all other purchasers will remain at the higher placement price.

"...The final terms of the Placement are expected to be announced on or about 26 March 2015.

"...The proceeds of the Placement will be used for the general corporate purposes of Airbus Group."

Dassault bagged its first export order for 24 Rafale aircraft this year from Egypt. The firm derives about 70% of sales from corporate jets, such as the Falcon, and the remainder from combat jets.

Airbus is part of the consortium that builds the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet.

Rafale India deal

Talks on the stalled sale of 126 Rafale combat jets to the Indian Air Force are advancing, a French defence ministry spokesman said late last month, during a visit to India by Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Paris and New Delhi have been discussing the contract, potentially worth up to $23bn (£14.8bn, €20.3bn), for more than three years now.

Earlier, news channel NDTV reported that the deal with France's Dassault Aviation could be salvaged ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France in April.

In November 2014, Airbus lowered its stake in Dassault from 46.3% to 42.1%.

India picked the Rafale fighters over the Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, made by EADS and financed by a four-nation consortium that includes Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy for the Indian Air Force in 2012.