Germany’s Lufthansa seeks to shore up support for rescue

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s Lufthansa is warning that a nine billion-euro (USD10.2 billion) rescue package for the airline group could be in danger because of criticism from a major shareholder. It urged shareholders yesterday to show up to a special meeting next week.

Lufthansa has agreed to the plan, which would give a government stabilisation fund a 20-per-cent stake. Existing shareholders need to approve the bailout at an extraordinary meeting on June 25.

Lufthansa said it currently expects attendance of below 50 per cent at that meeting and, in view of statements by shareholder Heinz-Hermann Thiele raising questions over his approval, the company sees a possibility that the rescue package may fail to win the two-thirds majority that such low attendance would require.

It added, “This would mean that Deutsche Lufthansa AG would possibly have to apply for protective shield proceedings under insolvency law a few days after the Annual General Meeting if no other solution is found immediately.”

The company said it “urgently appeals” to all shareholders to exercise their voting rights. Only a simple majority is required if more than 50 per cent of the share capital is present.

Lufthansa aircraft parked on a runway at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. PHOTO: AP