Germany to sell up to a quarter of its Lufthansa stake

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FILE PHOTO: Lufthansa planes are seen parked on the tarmac of Frankfurt Airport

(Corrects to read 6 billion (not 9 billion), paragraph 4)

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany plans to sell up to a quarter of its 20% stake in Lufthansa over the coming weeks, the German finance agency said on Monday, citing positive developments at the bailed-out airline.

Lufthansa shares fell as much as 4.9% to 8.81 euros in early trade after the announcement.

The state’s 20% stake was acquired for 300 million euros ($353.67 million) as part of a bailout for the German carrier as the company and the entire aviation sector took a battering from the coronavirus crisis.

Lufthansa had received a 6 billion euro package from Germany’s economic stabilisation fund (WSF), which was set up to help companies to ride out the pandemic.

The WSF has said it would sell the complete stake, which is currently worth more than 1 billion euros, before the end of 2023.

Lufthansa plans to issue new shares, probably before the Sept. 26 parliamentary elections, to help it to return bailout money to taxpayers.

Shareholders have approved a potential capital increase of up to 5.5 billion euros.

($1 = 0.8482 euros)

(Reporting by Caroline CopleyEditing by David Goodman)

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