Etihad CEO says carrier has no plans to invest in Lufthansa

Etihad Airways PJSC has no plans to take a stake in Deutsche Lufthansa AG, though the carriers are exploring the possibility of expanding their recent cooperation agreement, according to James Hogan, the Persian Gulf company’s chief executive officer. Asked Wednesday if Abu Dhabi-based Etihad intends to acquire a holding in Lufthansa, Hogan replied “no,” rejecting an Italian newspaper report. The CEO, who spoke on the sidelines of a conference in Dublin, said the companies are instead discussing the deepening of a code-share deal announced last month. Lufthansa shares had their biggest intraday jump in almost three months Tuesday after Il Messaggero said “high-level talks” were underway that could see Etihad buy as much as 40 per cent of Europe’s third-biggest airline via a capital increase. The stock traded down 2.6 per cent following Hogan’s comments and was priced 0.6 lower at 11.73 euros as of 3.17 pm in Frankfurt. Lufthansa and Etihad in December agreed to share seat sales on four routes in the wake of a separate accord that will see the German carrier lease 38 aircraft from rival Air Berlin Plc, which is 49 per cent owned by the Gulf company and struggling with mounting losses. Hogan said Etihad remains “committed” to its so-called equity alliance, which has involved taking minority stakes in a range of often struggling carriers worldwide, including Air Berlin and Alitalia SpA. (Benjamin Katz/Bloomberg)

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