After criticism from the federal government: Lufthansa is sticking to bonus plans

Status: 12/22/2022 6:27 p.m

Bonus payments at Lufthansa despite state aid during the pandemic – the government also criticized that this was against the conditions. Lufthansa now contradicts: It is not about an “accumulation” of canceled payments.

Lufthansa is sticking to the plans for long-term bonus payments to its board members. The company contradicted the corresponding criticism from the federal government and rejected the impression that the supervisory board had retrospectively decided on variable remuneration for the board of directors. “That is not the case. The annual bonus for 2021, as well as that for 2020, has been completely eliminated for the board of directors,” said a spokesman in Frankfurt.

On the other hand, long-term variable remuneration components for the periods 2021 to 2024 and 2022 to 2025 have been reinstated. The Supervisory Board also set corresponding targets for management during the pandemic. “There is no ‘accumulating’ or ‘catching up’ of omitted bonus payments,” said the spokesman.

Hebestreit announces talks

The topic is causing a stir, as the company received massive state aid in 2020 and 2021 to avoid going bankrupt in the Corona crisis. Bonus and dividend payments were expressly prohibited.

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit also emphasized on Wednesday that there should be no “accumulation” of bonuses plus subsequent payment. That would be a violation of agreements made between Lufthansa and the federal government. There are different legal positions here, he added. “That has to be discussed with each other now. And then you have to see what comes of it.”

Report: topic controversial in the supervisory board

The “Handelsblatt” had previously reported that the Lufthansa Supervisory Board approved bonus payments in the millions for the years 2021 and 2022 at a meeting in early December. However, the payments for 2021 were controversial because of the state aid, and some members of the supervisory board voted against it.

A Lufthansa spokesman told the “Handelsblatt” that the bonuses that have now been decided will only be paid out from 2025. Therefore, there is no violation of state requirements.

State aid repaid at the end of 2021

The Federal Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) supported Lufthansa with six billion euros during the Corona crisis. In the course of this, he joined the group directly with 20 percent. The state development bank KfW also contributed a loan of EUR 1 billion.

At the end of 2021, Lufthansa had repaid the German state aid in full. The federal government sold its stake with a profit of more than 700 million euros.

Trade unions and political parties have also criticized the company’s actions. “The Lufthansa board has no sense of the mood among the population, which is suffering from inflation,” said Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the left parliamentary group, to the editorial network Germany. “First saved with tax money and now millions in bonuses, that’s poison for social cohesion.”

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