The German state has sold its remaining shares in Lufthansa Group after acquiring up to 20% in order to keep the carrier airborne during the pandemic.
In June 2020, amid COVID-19 lockdowns and their impact on the aviation industry, Germany approved a substantial aid plan of €9 billion ($9 billion) to save its flag carrier from bankruptcy.
The package was accompanied by the acquisition of up to 20% of Lufthansa Group’s capital by the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF). In addition to Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), the airline group also owns Austrian, Swiss, Eurowings, and Brussels Airlines.
Lufthansa Group was able to fully repay the WSF’s silent participation by November 2021, allowing the state to progressively sell its shares.
The WSF announced late on September 13, 2022, that it had completely sold its last remaining stake of 9.92% to international investors.
“The stabilization of Deutsche Lufthansa AG has been successfully completed,” said Jutta Dönges, Managing Director of the German Finance Agency, in a statement. “The total proceeds of €1.07 billion generated for the WSF from the sale of its stake significantly exceed by €760 million the €306 million invested to acquire it. With this gratifying record, the participation of the WSF ends, and the company is back in private hands.”
While the investors were not publicly disclosed, some suspect that the remainder of the shares were acquired by Germany’s richest man, the logistics specialist Klaus-Michael Kuehne.
The latter became the airline group’s largest shareholder on July 6, 2022, after increasing its stake to 15.01% up from 10%.