Lufthansa’s largest shareholder hits out at bailout deal
Lufthansa’s largest shareholder has hit out at the German flag carrier’s bailout deal, saying he hoped that alternatives could be explored.
Speaking to German newspaper FAZ, Heinz Hermann Thiele said he had upped his stake in the embattled flyer to 15 per cent.
At the beginning of June, the carrier announced that the German government would take a 20 per cent stake in it in exchange for €9bn in funding.
“I appreciate [Carsten] Spohr (Lufthansa’s chief executive), but I’m not satisfied by his statement that everything was examined and that some ideas could not have been implemented”, he said.
“I believe that negotiations could have been more intense”.
Thiele said that he would vote against the deal, which will also see authorities take two seats on the airline’s board, at the firm’s extraordinary general meeting on 25 June.
He added: “My goal is to create an understanding that there could actually be an alternative – even though this is being denied by management.
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“It is possible to hold talks and clarify where there is leeway”.
According to Thiele, who is the chairman of brakes firm Knorr-Bremse, an indirect state participation via bank KfW could be an alternative to an outright government stake.
Lufthansa’s bailout has been the subject of much scrutiny due to weeks of wrangling over how much control the airline was willing to give up in exchange for vital support to survive a slump in passenger demand during the pandemic.
The deal, which will see the government buy roughly €300m worth of shares, requires Lufthansa to waive future dividends payments and place limits of executive pay.
Under the bailout package Berlin will also inject €5.7bn in non-voting capital, known as a silent participation.
Lufthansa will separately receive a €3bn three-year loan from state-backed KfW and private banks.