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Lufthansa investor Thiele seeks talks with German govt - Handelsblatt

FRANKFURT, June 18 (Reuters) - Lufthansa’s biggest shareholder, German billionaire Heinz Hermann Thiele, has reached out to Berlin politicians for talks, Handelsblatt said, the latest step in a standoff over the airline’s 9 billion euro ($10.1 billion) bailout.

Lufthansa shareholders need to approve the rescue package but Thiele, who has ammassed a 15% Lufthansa stake, has criticised bailout terms and is raising more cash by selling down 760 million euros worth of shares in rail and commercial vehicle supplier Knorr-Bremse.

Thiele and Knorr-Bremse declined to comment.

The entrepreneur is against Germany taking a stake of up to 20% in the airline, terms which Lufthansa and the German government have agreed to as part of the planned rescue of the company.

Lufthansa fears that Thiele’s lack of approval for a bailout deal could bring down the rescue package at next week’s Annual General Meeting on June 25. (Reporting by Holger Hansen in Berlin and Joern Poltz in Munich Writing by Edward Taylor, editing by Thomas Escritt)

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