Lufthansa Poised to Divest JetBlue Stake

By Paul Riegler on 30 March 2012
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Lufthansa, which currently owns ca. 15.7% of JetBlue, announced plans to issue bonds that will be redeemable in shares of JetBlue Airways Corp., a move that has the potential to reduce Lufthansa’s stake in the U.S. airline to zero.

Lufthansa acquired a 19% stake in JetBlue in January 2009.

The airline is currently in the process of selling its U.K-based airline, British Midland (bmi), to International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent of British Airways.  Both moves are part of Lufthansa’s effort to streamline operations and cut costs.

The bonds, which the airline will issue through its Lufthansa Malta Blues LP unit, are due in 2017 and will be exchangeable into 46.7 million shares in JetBlue.

Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz commented last year that the strategic value of its ownership in JetBlue had become less significant following the United-Continental merger.  Lufthansa and United are partners in a trans-Atlantic joint venture.

(Pictured: Lufthansa Arrivals Lounge, Frankfurt)

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