Daimler makes 2.2 bn euros on sale of EADS stake

German automaker Daimler said Wednesday it pocketed 2.2 billion euros ($2.9 billion) from the sale of its remaining 7.5-percent stake in the European aerospace and defence group EADS.

"Daimler received gross proceeds of about 2.2 billion euros from the offering and, following the offering, does not hold any residual shares in EADS," the group said in a statement.

Shares in EADS soared by almost 4.0 percent in midday trades on the Paris stock exchange, while those in Daimler was sharply lower in Frankfurt.

As announced the day before, Daimler put up 61.1 million EADS shares for sale at 37 euros apiece.

EADS itself bought 16 million of the shares worth 600 million euros.

"Demand from institutional investors was strong," Daimler said.

"We have concluded a very successful transaction, enabling us to fully participate in the positive development of the EADS share price," said Daimler's financial chief Bodo Uebber.

"The proceeds from this sale are contributing positively to our free cash flow this year and in addition to the earnings from our ongoing businesses, will also support our policy of stable dividends," Uebber said.

Daimler was a founding member of EADS, but has decided to sell its stake as part of a broader overhaul of EADS's shareholder structure, and to focus on the automaker's core activities.

It had already sold a stake of 7.5 percent in December for 1.66 billion euros.

At an extraordinary meeting in Amsterdam last month, EADS shareholders approved sweeping reforms that weaken the influence of European governments and allow the aerospace giant to pursue its global ambitions unfettered.

Shareholders overwhelmingly adopted 15 proposed amendments in a major easing of state clout in the powerful group that controls the civilian airplane maker Airbus.

They notably dissolved a complicated shareholders pact that gave EADS's three founding states -- France, Germany and Spain -- veto rights on strategic decisions and rights to nominate board members.

On Monday, EADS announced it is in talks to buy 1.56 percent of its own shares from the French state for 478 million euros.

EADS said that France had proposed a price of 37.35 euros per share, the same price EADS paid last week to acquire a stake of 1.61 percent from French media company Lagardere.

In midday Paris trading, EADS shares jumped by 3.94 percent to 38.66 euros, while the CAC 40 index of blue-chip stocks was off by 1.68 percent overall.

Daimler shares were 1.41 percent lower at 38.94 euros in Frankfurt, where the DAX 30 index was down by 1.63 percent.