Fitch Ratings affirmed (20-Sep-2010) Germany’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings at AAA with a "stable" outlook, with the ratings agency also affirming Germany’s country ceiling at AAA and and short-term foreign currency IDR at F1+. Fitch stated the country's economic outlook has been enhanced by a robust macro-economic performance, mostly due to a strong recovery of exports and a pickup in investments, adding that Germany's recovery has taken a clear 'V' shape and is not at risk of dipping back into recession. Fitch raised its growth forecast for the country's 2010 GDP from 1.6% to 3.6%, although in the medium term that pace is likely to taper off, with the outlook for 2011 and 2012 at around 2%. Fitch warned that the banking sector will continue to be a source of potential risk. [more]Fitch Ratings: "Germany's economic outlook has been enhanced, not only by its recent robust macroeconomic performance - mostly due to a strong recovery of exports and a pickup in investments - but also by its resilient labour market, with unemployment reaching a low not seen since 1991. On a more fundamental level, Germany continues to command one of the world's strongest net international investment positions (at 38% of GDP in 2009), affording it safe-haven investment status, as reflected in its benchmark spreads that have tightened significantly during the euro area crisis," Maria Malas-Mroueh, Associate Director in Fitch's Sovereign team.
Fitch affirms Germany's rating; cites solid economic recovery
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Lufthansa and Etihad: equity tie up could further align mutual strategy, but marriage unlikely
Greater cooperation between Lufthansa and Etihad reflects their local and global challenges growing in quantity and complexity. Contact between the two has led to speculation that the partnership could radically expand to include an equity tie up, with rumoured merger talks.
Their initial Dec-2016 codeshare announcement was, in practical terms, small but showed the possibility, as they stated, to expand cooperation. However, it would be a leap to go from their handful of codeshares to a 17-Jan-2017 article from Italian daily newspaper Il Messaggero that Etihad could invest in Lufthansa on the way to a possible merger between the two. A subsequent denial in a Reuters story that "A financial stake is out of the question at the moment", does little to dispel the rumour. Were it not for the last three words of that statement the rumour would lack credibility.
There is certainly logic for a deeper partnership - and the two have danced this waltz before. Equity involvement from airlines can cement partnerships, add to board influence and partially allow one side to gain financially from any matter it feels it is compromising away. Nevertheless, there are obstacles to a full blown merger, and even to Etihad's taking a 30% to 40% stake. A marriage between the new bedfellows does not seem an immediate prospect. Nonetheless the logic is there for a move; and the mere fact of a potential move is sufficient to rock the equilibrium.
Eurowings: new Munich routes outsourced to airberlin. Frankfurt hub may be next for Lufthansa's LCC
When Lufthansa began to transfer point-to-point short haul routes to its LCC Germanwings in 2013 it specifically excluded routes to/from its two main hubs at Munich and Frankfurt. Although its two main hubs have been less penetrated by LCCs than many other major European airports, this is changing. Moreover, competitor LCCs are growing rapidly across Germany and in other Lufthansa Group home markets. Even Air France-KLM established a Munich base for its LCC Transavia in summer 2016 (but this is under review). More ominously, Ryanair is to enter Frankfurt in summer 2017.
Lufthansa first revealed in summer 2016 that it was considering opening a Munich base for its LCC operations, now grouped under the Eurowings brand. On 21-Dec-2016 it announced plans to base four A320 family aircraft at Munich for 32 Eurowings routes from summer 2017.
Perhaps it was always inevitable that Eurowings would eventually extend to selected routes from Frankfurt and Munich, but agreements with pilots were understood to have limited the group's flexibility. Confirmation that the operation of Eurowings routes at Munich will be outsourced to airberlin under wet lease appears to have loosened this restriction. Eurowings routes from Frankfurt are also being considered.