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Airbus A400M project due June

PARIS, Mar 8 – An amended contract on the Airbus A400M military transport project, incorporating fresh funding agreed last week, should be ready by June at the latest, the French defence minister said on Monday.

"We will have a new contract in June, most likely before," Herve Morin told a news conference.

"The agreement laying down the changes made to the contract will be signed in the next few days," Morin said, adding that it will then take a couple of months to finalise.

European governments agreed on Friday to give aerospace giant EADS an additional 3.5 billion euros (4.76 billion dollars) to save the troubled Airbus A400M military transport project.

"EADS considers that this agreement provides a sound basis for a successful evolution of the A400M programme," the Airbus parent company said, vowing "to deliver a state-of-the-art product within the new frame of the contract."

Belgium, Britain, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey ordered A400M planes but after the project ran into trouble, they initially balked at EADS demands that they cover cost overruns of about 5.2 billion euros.

The governments agreed to waive damages for the delays, accelerate pre-delivery payments and provide another 1.5 billion euros in exchange for a share in any future export sales.

EADS said in turn that it would report a 2009 loss after having to make provisions worth 1.8 billion euros to cover its part of the cost over-runs on the A400M.

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