The aviation giant Lufthansa officially left the DAX index which regroups the biggest German companies on June 22, 2020. Meanwhile, the German government attempted to convince the reluctant main shareholder of Lufthansa to approve the €9 billion rescue plan that would see the airline partly nationalized. The meeting, however, proved fruitless.
Lufthansa had been part of the DAX index, which lists the 30 largest and wealthiest German companies, for the past 32 years. Its place was now taken by the real estate group Deutsche Wohnen, currently capitalized at €14 billion.
The same day Lufthansa was downgraded, an exceptional meeting was held between the Minister of Economy, Peter Altmaier, of Finances, Olaf Scholz, and the principal shareholder of the company, the German billionaire Hermann Thiele, in order to find an agreement. It appeared however that the two representatives of the German state failed to convince him, as reported by Handelsblatt.
Previously, Thiele has expressed doubts about the bailout plan that would give the German state a 20% direct stake in the airline’s capital, as well as two seats on the supervisory board. Instead, he would rather prefer the alternative of indirect participation via the German public bank KfW. Thiele owns 15.5% of Lufthansa, therefore his veto could prove deadly to the plan elaborated by the authorities.
In a letter to the employees, Carsten Spohr, chairman and CEO of Lufthansa, said the company was ready for the possibility that the extraordinary general meeting to be held on June 25, 2020, would refuse the partial nationalization project. If that proved to be the case, Lufthansa would likely be placed under bankruptcy protection.