Talks for a proposed merger of British arms maker BAE Systems and European aerospace giant EADS have reached an advanced stage, the head of EADS said in a letter Wednesday to employees.
"We are leading advanced and constructive talks with all the concerned governments (France, Germany and Britain)," EADS chief executive Tom Enders wrote, according to details of the letter obtained by AFP.
"Within the framework of the envisaged agreement, we are trying to respond as best as possible to their questions and to take into consideration their national security interests," he wrote.
Governments have been cautious since the announcement a week ago of the proposed merger that would create the world's biggest aerospace and defence group, far ahead of US rival Boeing.
Europe Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Tuesday there remained "enormous technical obstacles to clear" before achieving a tie-up.
On Friday, the French presidency said Paris and Berlin were waiting for the merger project to be clarified before passing judgment and taking decisions.
Enders wrote that "good administration is essential for our two companies and constitutes the sina qua non (indispensable) condition for realising this project!"
The chief executive also believed the company management to "be on the right path to probably be in a position soon to communicate more details to the market" and to EADS employees.
In a long sales pitch on the benefits EADS would draw from a merger with BAE Systems, he recognised that the future of EADS military activities is at stake.
"Astrium, Cassidian and the defence activities of Airbus Military and Eurocopter face defence budgets which are stagnating or diminishing in our countries," he said.
"Consequently, increased internationalisation -- particularly but not uniquely for Cassidian -- is absolutely indispensable."
The two groups have until October 10 to finalise the project or abandon it.
"Administration and interests linked to national security are actually at the heart" of the discussions, Enders said.
Among the leading stockholders in EADS are Lagardere and the French state through holding company Sogeade (22.35 percent), Germany's Daimler which has 22.35 percent of the voting rights for Germany but has ceded 7.5 percent to a consortium of banks and investors, and the Spanish state (5.45 percent).
"Beyond the first critical reactions, it will soon become evident that this operation makes complete sense," Enders said. "I am deeply convinced that this agreement represents what one could call 'the perfect union.'"