Lufthansa Said to Pick JPMorgan for Technik Unit Stake Sale, IPO

Deutsche Lufthansa AG has picked JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on the disposal of a minority stake in its aircraft-maintenance division, according to people familiar with the matter.

Germany’s flagship carrier is working with the bank as it weighs a possible stake sale or initial public offering for the Technik business, the people said. Technik could be valued at 3.5 billion euros ($4.1 billion) to 5 billion euros in any deal, they said. 

Deliberations are ongoing and no firm decisions have been made about whether to pursue a sale or IPO, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Lufthansa could appoint more advisers to work on any transaction, they said.

Representatives for JPMorgan and Lufthansa declined to comment.

Proceeds from any disposal could be used to help Lufthansa repay a chunk of the 9 billion euros in state aid it has received to help it through the Covid-19 pandemic. The company’s Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr this month abandoned plans to repay the funds before German elections on Sept. 26, saying instead that he would aim to strike a new deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government before she leaves office. 

The transition to a new, potentially less sympathetic coalition, in Germany could happen quickly or drag on for as long as several months after the vote. Lufthansa would like to settle on an exit deal as soon as possible, preferably with the current government, Spohr said. 

The company considered listing a stake in Technik in early 2020 to help fund the unit’s expansion and boost the airline group’s market value, only to see those plans upended by the coronavirus crisis. Shares in Lufthansa have fallen 8.4% in the last 12 months, giving it a market value of 4.7 billion euros. 

In August 2020, Spohr reiterated Lufthansa was considering a partnership or public offering of a minority stake for Technik, while cautioning it wouldn’t engage in “fire sales.”

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