Germany raises 760m euros from sale of full stake in Lufthansa

Germany raised 760 million euros (S$1.06 billion) from the sale of the state's full stake in Deutsche Lufthansa, unwinding all of the holding it took to keep the flagship carrier afloat during Covid-19 lockdowns.

The country's Economic Stabilisation Fund, or WSF, disposed of its remaining 9.92 per cent of Europe's largest airline via a placement with international investors, according to a statement. The government had earlier on Tuesday (Sep 13) announced the sale of a 6.2 per cent holding.

"The total proceeds of 1.07 billion euros generated for the WSF from the sale of its stake significantly exceed the 306 million euros invested to acquire it," said Jutta Doenges, who is responsible for the WSF as managing director of the finance agency. With this outcome, "the participation of the WSF ends and the company is back in private hands," she added.

The shares traded 2 per cent lower in early Wednesday (Sep 14) trade in Frankfurt, and are little changed for the year to date.

Lufthansa in November repaid the last of its 9 billion-euro bailout ahead of schedule, enabling the government to pare its stake at a significant profit. The state stepped in during 2020 to rescue the airline after pandemic-related travel restrictions all but grounded air travel.

Germany's richest man may have been one of the buyers, after saying he wants to acquire more shares in Europe's biggest airline. Klaus-Michael Kuehne is looking to boost his 15.01 per cent stake according to a filing last week, after investing a chunk of a fortune he made in logistics into the carrier.

The latest developments for the carrier come shortly after it reached an agreement that raises pay for pilots and excludes strikes for about a year in return. The airline has been wrestling with labour disputes that exacerbated an already chaotic summer travel season. BLOOMBERG

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