Boeing Co Chief Executive Jim McNerney on Wednesday said his company was not threatened by merger discussions between Europe's EADS, the parent of Airbus, and Britain's BAE Systems Plc.
He said the proposed merger between the two European aerospace companies reflected the start of global consolidation in the defense industry, spurred by declining military spending in the United States and Europe, and was likely aimed at giving EADS greater access to the U.S. defense market.
"I have a pretty deep and abiding faith in our company's strength, so I don't see this as something that is going to threaten us fundamentally," McNerney told Reuters after a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
"It does reflect a global consolidation that is beginning to happen," he said, adding that an EADS-BAE merger would create a larger entity with more balanced commercial and military operations, a model that Boeing has followed for some time.
McNerney declined to comment further, saying he had not studied the issue.
Boeing beat out EADS last year to win a huge order to build 179 refueling planes for the U.S. Air Force, a deal EADS had hoped would help it expand its footprint in the United States.
In June, Airbus announced plans to build a large production facility in Mobile, Alabama.
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