France sells 2.1 percent EADS stake

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government sold a 2.1 percent stake in Airbus parent EADS <EAD.PA> for 707 million euros (596 million pounds), it said on Friday, marking one of the final steps in the overhaul of the ownership of the European aerospace and defence group.

The placement of the 17.6 million shares, via an accelerated book building for which UBS was the bookrunner, was done at a final price of 40.10 euros a share, according to traders.

The price was a 1.35 percent discount compared with the stock's closing price of 40.65 euros on Thursday. EADS' share price slid 1.6 percent in early trading on Friday to 40.01 euros.

Friday's placement was the latest in a series of stake sales in the aerospace group from shareholders Lagardere <LAGA.PA>, Daimler <DAIGn.DE> and the Spanish state.

Last week, EADS bought back 1.56 percent of its stock from the French state.

"Since the latest placement, the shares have risen 10 percent, so the hangover is behind us now, and fundamentals are very sound," a Paris-based trader said.

France has raised a total of 1.19 billion euros from the two sales, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Friday.

EADS stock has surged about 64 percent over the past five months, giving the company a market capitalisation of 33.1 billion euros.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Additional reporting by Daniela Pegna, Ingrid Melander and Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by James Regan)