June 18, 2020 / 5:55 PM / 15 days ago

Lufthansa investor Thiele seeks talks with German government: Handelsblatt

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

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