Business Rescue could fail at the very last second

Rescue could fail at the very last second


The entrepreneur Heinz Hermann Thiele, with 15% the largest single shareholder of Lufthansa, calls for renegotiations. The group could be without state participation rescued. Thiele wants to possibly block the rescue – a high risk game.

The aircraft of the airline Lufthansa are parked during the pandemic. Shooting at Frankfurt airport – the North-West runway will be to the Lufthansa Parking.

Marcel Lorenz / Imago

The week-long negotiations-laced rescue package for the German Lufthansa could fail. To the for the 25. June scheduled extraordinary General meeting of Lufthansa, to be held on the basis of the Coronavirus virtual, to the approval of the shareholders of the rescue package. Now was not known, however, that, in the meantime, 15% largest single shareholder, the entrepreneur Heinz Hermann Thiele, the design of the rescue measures is satisfied, with the consent hesitates and renegotiations throbs. He should refuse his consent, could be missed the necessary two-thirds majority, said Lufthansa on Wednesday in warning. Then the group would have to apply for insolvency and legal protection proceedings, should not be immediately found another solution.

Strong dilution for the existing shareholders

In an Interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” criticized Thiele, the Executive Board of Lufthansa had not informed the shareholders about the with the Federal government, discussed Alternatives. By the agreed entry of the state with 20% of the Option on a further 5% plus one share of it would come from the current shareholders to significant dilution of share value. In addition, the 79 joins-Year-old is the fact that the state is the beneficiary of the Lufthansa rescue, because he should get the new title at a nominal value of € 2.56. On the stock exchange, the stock listed on Wednesday afternoon at around € 10.50. Thiele doubted, moreover, that in the case of a rejection of the rescue package at the annual General meeting, a total loss is imminent. In its view, are not yet exhausted all possibilities. For the Lufthansa group, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines, as well as several other brands.

Strong German Self-made billionaire

Heinz Hermann Thiele – largest Lufthansa-single shareholder


Heinz Hermann Thiele – largest Lufthansa-single shareholder

The Self-made billionaire Heinz Hermann Thiele is a car with the once-ailing company, Knorr-Bremse, a worldwide leading manufacturer of braking systems for trucks and trains, and become rich. He began in 1969 as a legal Advisor in the patent Department of the company and slowly worked up. In 1986, he acquired from a former owner of 71% of the company, was founded in 1987 as Chairman of the Board, and in 1989, the sole owner. In 2007, he moved to the Supervisory Board. Thiele is holding now through KB Holding, which belongs to him, 80.7%, 95% of the shares in Knorr-Bremse and 50,09% of the railway infrastructure provider Vossloh. The financial Agency Bloomberg estimated his fortune in may 2020 and 15.5 billion $.

The successful entrepreneur sees it as a compromise, an indirect involvement of the government through the Federal-owned Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Thiele refers to the fact that other European Airlines, such as Air France/KLM, Alitalia, Iberia or Ryanair would be in crisis without a state, the initial and only high loans, have received. The native of Mainz was entered in March, in several steps, “his”, KB Holding is Lufthansa and had earned a total of 10% of the shares. This participation has increased, according to their own statements now, to 15%.

Hope to remediation without state participation

With a share in this amount, he might be able to prevent the approval of the shareholders for a rescue package. Lufthansa expects that the presence of the capital at the extraordinary General meeting to be below 50%. Then a two-thirds majority of the votes cast for the adoption of the stabilization measures, however, is required. The virtual as well conducted AGM on may 5. May had only achieved a presence of 33%. The presence should be, however, more than 50%, would be enough for a simple majority of the votes cast for approval of the rescue package. The Board of Directors of aviation group, appealed to all private and institutional shareholders to urge their right to vote and the decision on the future of the company participate.

Thiele, however, had said in the Interview, the increase was not a Signal to vote at the annual General meeting, against anything. He had formed the necessary decisions, no final opinion. “I will certainly not block or slow down, but hope, rather, that in the run-up and in motion, can be effected,” said Thiele. The Lufthansa-Chef Carsten Spohr, he stopped to have not be intensive enough with the state of negotiations. In his opinion needs to be Lufthansa for the rehabilitation and recovery of no state involvement.

You can follow Economics editor Michael Quickly on Twitter, Linkedin and Xing as well as NZZ Frankfurt on Facebook.


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