FRANKFURT: Lufthansa shares slumped 5.7 per cent on Monday morning after CEO Carsten Spohr said the company would seek to avoid a grounding and insolvency in a battle with the airline’s biggest shareholder over the terms of a €9 billion bailout.
Lufthansa has been hard hit by what is expected to be a protracted travel slump because of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing it to seek a state rescue.
Billionaire shareholder Heinz Hermann Thiele will meet the economy minister on Monday to discuss his objections to the state-backed bailout, a source close to the matter told Reuters.
In a letter to employees, Spohr said the airline was in intense talks with the government and large shareholders which had “the clear goal of finding a satisfactory solution for our company and all participants before Thursday,” when an extraordinary shareholder meeting will be held.
Lufthansa warned last week that a failure to secure shareholder approval for the bailout could force it to apply for protection from creditors under German insolvency law.
The bailout requires the support of more than two thirds of shareholders. Thiele, who has 15.5 per cent of Lufthansa’s shares, objects to the German state taking a 20 per cent stake and seats on its supervisory board.