Lufthansa: German airline not open to Qatar investment

Lufthansa needs to limit ownership by shareholders from non-European Union member states to 49 percent to preserve its aviation licenses. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2019

Lufthansa: German airline not open to Qatar investment

  • The Gulf carrier has been seeking to boost collaborations
  • ‘We did not have Lufthansa privatized in Germany to have it nationalized in Qatar’

FRANKFURT: 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 nationalized 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 percent 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.
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 percent 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.


Higher impairment charges hit UAE banks Emirates NBD and ADCB

Updated 27 January 2020

Higher impairment charges hit UAE banks Emirates NBD and ADCB

DUBAI: Dubai's biggest lender Emirates NBD reported a 15 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings on Monday, below analysts' forecasts, on a jump in impairment charges, sending its shares down around 1 percent.

The bank booked impairment charges of 2.06 billion dirhams ($560.88 million) in the quarter, up more than three times from a year earlier due to higher bad debt charges as it consolidated results of newly acquired Turkish lender DenizBank.

Even without DenizBank, impairment charges were up 78 percent on lower writebacks and recoveries. The bank did not give details of these charges.

Banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are bracing for more writedowns from the real sector amid a downturn, especially in the Dubai property market.

Fitch Ratings recently warned a weakening property market in the UAE was likely to put more pressure on the asset quality of the banking sector.

Emirates NBD reported a net profit of 2.02 billion dirhams in the fourth-quarter, down from 2.39 billion dirhams in the same period a year earlier. EFG Securities had projected a net profit of 2.45 billion dirhams.

Full year profit, however, surged 44 percent, underpinned by double-digit growth in net interest income, stronger loan growth and gains from the listing of the bank's unit Network International.

Separately, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the UAE's third-biggest bank, also reported a 16 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit on Monday, hurt by an increase in impairment charges.

Emirates NBD said it expected the Expo 2020 world fair to support multiple sectors in Dubai, but a softening real estate market remained a risk for 2020.