March 14, 2019 / 1:39 PM / 5 months ago

Lufthansa would return cash to shareholders if Europe consolidation falters

A view of an office building of German airline Lufthansa in Frankfurt, Germany March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lufthansa would consider return cash to shareholders if its push to consolidate the European market through mergers and acquisitions doesn’t pan out, Chief Financial Officer Ulrik Svensson said on Thursday.

“If we are not able to consolidate the European market, then obviously we will at some stage start to have a discussion on how to return money to shareholders, in the form of extra dividends or whatever it might be,” Svensson told analysts on a conference call.

“I think that will be very sad, however, if that will be the conclusion. I firmly believe that the consolidated Europe is going to be a much more profitable market.”

Executives cautioned that weaker operational performance had persisted into the first quarter after Lufthansa reported an 11 percent drop in operating profits in the fourth quarter.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Riham Alkousaa

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