Lufthansa not planning to buy rivals weakened by COVID-19 crisis -CEO

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FILE PHOTO: Planes of German carrier Lufthansa are parked on a closed runway at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, March 23, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) is not planning to buy rivals weakened by the coronavirus crisis, Chief Executive Carsten Spohr told shareholders at the company’s virtual annual general meeting on Tuesday.

“Our focus is on stabilising Lufthansa in its current form and not on acquiring other airlines. We are not planning a takeover at this time” he said, adding that European consolidation will be slowed due to government bailouts.

The carrier, whose fleet has all but been grounded by the pandemic, is currently in talks with governments about state aid and Spohr said that he expects a deal with Germany shortly.

While Lufthansa has asked Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N) to postpone aircraft deliveries, it is taking a 2020 hit of about 1 billion euros from crude oil hedging, Spohr said, adding that it is preparing to restart passenger flights slowly from June.

Lufthansa is not planning to sell subsidiaries except its catering activities, Spohr said, adding that a potential listing of its Lufthansa Technik unit would currently only be possible at a massive discount.

Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Thomas Seythal

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