FILE PHOTO: Lufthansa presents its new logo during a press event in a maintenance hangar of the airline at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, Germany February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Lufthansa’s (LHAG.DE) biggest shareholder, German billionaire Heinz Hermann Thiele, has reached out to Berlin politicians for talks, Handelsblatt said, the latest step in a standoff over the airline’s 9 billion euro ($10.1 billion) bailout.
Lufthansa shareholders need to approve the rescue package but Thiele, who has ammassed a 15% Lufthansa stake, has criticised bailout terms and is raising more cash by selling down 760 million euros worth of shares in rail and commercial vehicle supplier Knorr-Bremse (KBX.DE).
Thiele and Knorr-Bremse declined to comment.
The entrepreneur is against Germany taking a stake of up to 20% in the airline, terms which Lufthansa and the German government have agreed to as part of the planned rescue of the company.
Lufthansa fears that Thiele’s lack of approval for a bailout deal could bring down the rescue package at next week’s Annual General Meeting on June 25.
Reporting by Holger Hansen in Berlin and Joern Poltz in Munich; Writing by Edward Taylor, editing by Thomas Escritt