updated 1/29/2007 1:12:44 PM ET 2007-01-29T18:12:44

European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co on Monday rejected a French news report that it might sell a 20 percent stake in its Airbus commercial jet division to Russian state interests.

“We strongly deny” the report, a spokesman for EADS in Munich, Germany, told Dow Jones Newswires.

According to an article posted on the Web site of business magazine Capital, Russia is interested in acquiring a 20 percent interest in Airbus from EADS through a Russian state-owned bank or company.

The report said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Aleshin will be in Paris later this week, and that he has scheduled meetings with EADS and Airbus chief executive Louis Gallois, as well as French President Jacques Chirac.

Russia is eager to gain a foothold in Europe’s aerospace sector as a way to bolster its own industry.

Last summer, Russian state-owned bank VTB acquired a 5 percent stake in EADS. Last week, however, VTB chairman Andrey Kostin was quoted as saying in an interview with the French financial newspaper Les Echos that VTB has no intention of increasing its shareholding or seeking a management role in EADS.

The Capital report caused EADS’ shares to spike to an intraday high of $31.62 in midafternoon trading Monday. The shares ended the session with a gain of 1.7 percent to $32.27.

Meanwhile, Airbus announced Monday it has received orders for two “VIP versions” of its ultra long-haul A340 aircraft from two new customers.

The customers did not want to be identified, an Airbus spokesman said. One customer ordered an A340-500, and the other ordered an A340-300, the company said.

“Airbus has won two new customers for VIP versions of its ultra long-haul A340s,” the company said in a statement, referring to airplanes that typically target individual, government and business customers. The VIP versions offer different interiors to those of commercial airlines.

The value of the order was not disclosed.

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