December 4, 2012 / 8:32 PM / 5 years ago

Dassault 'optimistic' on Rafale talks with India

The logo of French airplanes maker Dassault Aviation is seen on Dassault Aviation headquarters in Saint Cloud, Paris suburb, March 22, 2012. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - Talks between French plane-maker Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) and India over a $15 billion Rafale fighter contract are continuing, Dassault’s chief executive said, adding he was “relatively optimistic”.

India selected the Rafale to enter exclusive negotiations for a potential 126-plane order in late January, beating the competing Eurofighter Typhoon EAD.PA SIFI.MI (BAES.L) and lifting hopes for a sale that would boost French pride and restore the luster of its aviation industry.

“We are deep in talks at the moment. It’s a complicated country, the negotiations are tough, but there is a desire to wrap up on both sides,” CEO Charles Edelstenne told a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday.

“I‘m relatively optimistic.”

Edelstenne also said that growing public speculation over a change at the top for subsidiary Thales (TCFP.PA) - which he described as an “eventual change in governance” - was having an impact on talks with clients and making them more difficult.

Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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