Lufthansa major shareholder Thiele also created his billion dollar empire because he can negotiate skillfully. Anyone who dismisses their demand for improvements to the rescue package as a bluff is playing with high stakes.
In times of billions in government aid, the word “boom” is used almost inflationarily. However, what is happening around the alleged rescue of the traditional Lufthansa is downright a huge boom. Because their major shareholder Heinz Hermann Thiele not only expressed his displeasure with the content and communication of the planned Berlin financial injection of around 9 billion euros in an interview with the FAZ, but also increased his share of the shares to 15 percent. This has made it even more difficult to get the federal government into action against him at the extraordinary general meeting next week.
Thiele does not openly threaten with a no, but he wants to renegotiate the package again and above all prevent the influence of politics on the restructuring of the airline. That means state aid, yes, but without having a say, please? Nothing learned, some will say and feel reminded of the rescue of the financial sector after Lehman. At that time the realization matured that in future the shareholders must first be liable before the state steps in.
But Thiele’s argument also catches the eye that the same state in the case of Lufthansa has already been promised an exquisite interest rate for its help (unlike Commerzbank), but in return should stay out of the operational business.
Does Thiele make a difference?
While Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is demonstratively optimistic about next Thursday, the Lufthansa management is already outlining the alternative of bankruptcy in the event of the failure of the aid package and desperately wooing small shareholders for their votes.
Does Thiele really care to be featured on the boulevard as Lufthansa’s gravedigger? Looked at soberly, this is just as unlikely as the analysts worry that if he loses, he will sell off his entire block of shares. At least he has made a clear commitment to Lufthansa on both points.
But the 79-year-old entrepreneur also created his billion dollar empire because he has mastered the art of skillful negotiation. Anyone who dismisses their demands as a simple bluff and lets the chance of an agreement slip by is playing with high stakes.