Germany’s Lufthansa says not open to Qatar investment

FILE PHOTO: A Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 aircraft lands at Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt, Germany April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Lufthansa responded coldly on Monday to a report that rival Qatar Airways was interested in taking a stake in or collaborating with the German airline.

The Gulf carrier, which holds minority stakes in airlines including IAG, Cathay Pacific, and China Southern Airlines, has been seeking to boost collaborations.

Its chief executive Akbar al-Baker was quoted by German news agency dpa on Sunday as saying he was interested in investing in Lufthansa to seize business opportunities in Europe’s biggest economy.

“We did not have Lufthansa privatized in Germany to have it nationalised in Qatar,” a Lufthansa spokesman said.

Initially, Qatar Airways would also look into a partnership with Lufthansa to ramp up air transport services and tourism in Germany, Al-Baker told dpa in Doha on the sidelines of a visit of the premier of regional state Lower Saxony to Qatar.

State-owned Qatar Airways declined to comment.

Lufthansa needs to limit ownership by shareholders from non-European Union member states to 49% to preserve its aviation licenses.

Its CEO Carsten Spohr has repeatedly criticized Gulf rivals such as Qatar, Emirates and Etihad Airways of receiving what he describes as unfair state subsidies.

Shares in Lufthansa were up 1.9% at 0911 GMT on Monday.

Dpa also quoted the Qatar Airways CEO as saying the carrier’s membership of the Oneworld airline alliance would not stand in the way of a pact with Lufthansa, which is part of rival Star Alliance.

“We have said several time that we will leave OneWorld,” he told dpa.

Al-Baker said in October that while considering a withdrawal a final decision had not been made.

He also said then his airline would consider lifting its 10% stake in Chilean carrier LATAM Airlines Group SA if the opportunity came up.

Last month Qatar signed a codeshare agreement with top Indian airline IndiGo, winning more access to the fast-growing Indian market.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.