European aerospace giant EADS announced plans rename itself Wednesday to Airbus Group as part of a major restructuring of its business.
The changes are planned to start at the beginning of next year and are set to be completed in the second half of 2014, the company said.
The new name reflects EADS' most recognizable business unit, which is passenger jet manufacturer Airbus. The firm’s planes are flown by airlines across the globe.
"The renaming simply gathers the entire company under the best brand we have, one that stands for internationalization, innovation and integration -- and also for some two-thirds of our revenues,” Chief Executive Tom Enders said. “It reinforces the message that ‘we make things fly.’ "
Airbus Group will consist of three divisions:
• Airbus, responsible for all commercial aircraft activities;
• Airbus Defense & Space, involving the company’s defense and space activities;
• Airbus Helicopters, made up of the commercial and military helicopter activities.
The company said pooling the space and defense entities is a response to flat and shrinking government budgets for the foreseeable future.
EADS attempted to address the defense spending problem last October when it sought a merger with British-owned BAE. The deal would have created the world’s largest aerospace company, but it ultimately fell apart in late November because of a political impasse.
The name EADS is derived from the company’s original name European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co. It is owned in part by the French, German and Spanish governments.
EADS, through its Airbus unit, has touted its increased U.S. spending and expansion of its American supplier base in hopes of securing more U.S. business. The company said it spent $12 billion in investments and supplier contract work in the U.S. in 2011.
Last July, Airbus announced it would build a $600-million commercial jet manufacturing facility in Mobile, Ala. The planes assembled there will compete directly with those made by Boeing Co.
Aircraft assembly is planned to begin in 2015 with a targeted 2016 delivery of its first A320 jetliner. At full capability, the assembly line and associated facilities will employ 1,000 workers.
“What we are unveiling today is an evolution, not a revolution,” Enders said. “It's the next logical step in the development of our company. We affirm the predominance of commercial aeronautics in our Group and we restructure and focus our defense and space activities to take costs out, increase profitability and improve our market position."