Airbus hits UK with warning over Brexit
Airbus has warned that a UK exit from the European Union could prompt it to reconsider future investments there and was joined by Qinetiq Group's new chief in stressing the value of continental markets.
Paul Kahn, the head of Airbus's UK arm, said that a vote to leave the EU in a referendum promised by the new Conservative government would jeopardise the unit's ability to secure continued funding from its headquarters in Toulouse.
At Qinetiq, Steve Wadey, who previously led the UK business of multinational missile-maker MBDA, said one major task after joining the defence specialist as chief executive officer on April 27 will be to assess its European potential.
"I spent 20 years of my last 25 years working daily around Europe and a European company," Mr Wadey said. "My perspective on the European question is really a perspective about markets and customers."
Airbus employs 16,000 people in the UK, mainly at its wing-making facilities, and invests £500m (€700m) there each year. Qinetiq, as a UK company, derived 67pc of sales from the Ministry of Defence in 2014. "I work to ensure that every penny possible is invested in our globally competitive operations in the UK," Airbus's Paul Kahn said. "But for my voice to be heard in a global business, the UK has to have the right competitive environment."