PARIS, June 15 Shareholders in Safran
on Thursday backed resolutions that will free the French aero
engine maker to pursue an agreed takeover of parts maker Zodiac
The planned merger would create the world's third-largest
aerospace supplier after U.S companies United Technologies
and General Electric.
Thursday's Safran shareholder vote was a key demand of UK
hedge fund TCI, which had waged an intense campaign to block the
deal, or at least reshape it.
In May, Zodiac accepted a 15 percent cut in Safran's $9
billion offer after Zodiac profit warnings.
Safran's original $9 billion offer was weakened by
conflicting movements in share prices and a deteriorating
industrial performance at Zodiac, though on Wednesday Zodiac
eased concerns by reiterating financial targets.
Shareholders in Safran had been asked to vote in favour of
two mechanisms that will enable the company to issue new
preference shares that would then be convertible in ordinary
shares after three years.
Safran says it is confident of resolving Zodiac's industrial
problems after visiting its plants, including a British factory
blamed for the latest profit downgrade in April.
Safran is offering 25 euros per Zodiac share in cash, down
from 29.47 euros previously, or an alternative of preferred
shares up to a total of 31.4 percent of the $7.7 billion deal.
Zodiac Aerospace shares closed up 0.9 percent at 23.92
euros. Safran eased 0.2 percent to 77.86 euros.
(Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Matthias Blamont.
Editing by Jane Merriman)