Lufthansa: capital increase for state aid repayment

Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – Shortly before the federal election, Lufthansa is setting the course for repayment of German state aid. For this purpose, the company wants to issue new shares with a total value of 2.1 billion euros, as it announced in Frankfurt.

The money is to flow into the repayment of the silent participations, with which the German state saved the aviation group from economic collapse in the corona crisis last year.

The news was well received on the stock market after initial irritation. After the start of trading on Monday, the price of the Lufthansa share initially fell into the red, but then turned into the profit zone. Since the turn of the year, however, the paper has lost more than a fifth of its value. Aviation expert Daniel Roeska from the Bernstein analysis company was amazed at the timing of the capital increase. Perhaps it would have been better to wait for clearer signs of recovery on long-haul routes and on business trips.

Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr was proud that Lufthansa can now repay the aid money. “We have always made it clear that we will only make use of the stability package for as long as is necessary.” The Group’s net debt is expected to decrease significantly as a result of the capital increase. “We can now fully concentrate on the further transformation of the Lufthansa Group,” said Spohr. The group cut thousands of jobs during the crisis. Most recently he counted around 110. 000 employees around 30. 000 less than before Corona.

Until the capital increase has been completed and the money has been received by Lufthansa, it will now take until after the federal election, which took place on 26. September takes place. The new share certificates should be available to shareholders from 22. September to October 5 at a subscription ratio of 1: 1 at a subscription price of EUR 3 58. This means they can receive one new share at the subscription price for each existing share.

Commitments amounting to nine billion euros

Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium had given Lufthansa -Group assisted after the collapse of air traffic as a result of the corona pandemic with financial aid worth billions. In total, they pledged nine billion euros to the group, the lion’s share of the sum coming from Germany, Lufthansa’s home country. The neighboring countries made loans available to strengthen the group subsidiaries Austrian, Swiss and Brussels.

The German state also rose as a shareholder via the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) with 20 percent at Lufthansa. In addition, the WSF provided two silent participations as equity, from which Lufthansa has so far drawn a total of 2.5 billion euros. She wants to use the money from the capital increase to repay these deposits – first 1.5 billion, then the remaining billion by the end of the year. A loan from the state bank KfW of one billion euros has already been repaid.

The WSF welcomed the planned capital increase as an “entry into the exit” of the state at Lufthansa. He will continue to support the group in line with his position as a “major shareholder”. The WSF is keeping open whether it will participate in the capital increase. A spokeswoman for the federal finance agency said on Monday.

The WSF has already reduced its stake and sold shares on the stock exchange. According to Lufthansa, he currently holds just under 16 percent of the Group’s share capital. If the WSF takes part in the capital increase that has now been initiated, it will start selling its shares at the earliest six months afterwards, it said. Then he must have completely sold his shares no later than two years after the capital increase, provided that the group repays the silent participations as planned.

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