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The Lufthansa Group has released preliminary Q1 results, revealing the impact of the coronavirus has led to a 47 percent drop in revenues in March. The company said it expects to run into a cash shortage within weeks without government help.
Across the quarter, revenues fell by 18 percent to €6.4 billion, with adjusted earnings before taxes amounting to a loss of €1.2 billion compared to a loss of €336 million in Q1 2019. It expects to take a further hit from the value of fuel hedges and "crisis-related asset impairments."
Because the group cannot predict when flights will be able to resume, it expects to take a "considerably higher" loss in the second quarter.
Lufthansa Group's airlines—Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Swiss and Eurowings —are currently only operating a tiny fraction of their previously scheduled flights, though they have been assisting in the transport of key medical supplies through cargo-only services and repatriation flights. Chief executive Carsten Spohr told employees earlier this month that the company was burning through €1 million an hour in costs.
The group has taken a number of measures to shore up its finances now and for the future, including permanently decommissioning more than 40 aircraft and closing its Germanwings subsidiary. It has also agreed reduced working hours with its employee unions.
Lufthansa Group said it currently has liquidity of around €4.4 billion thanks to financing measures totaling about €900 million since mid-March. However, due to ongoing contract liabilities and refunds of canceled tickets, the company expects this liquidity to run short in the coming weeks.
In a statement, the company said: "The group does not expect to be able to cover the resulting capital requirements with further borrowings on the market. The group is therefore in intensive negotiations with the governments of its home countries regarding various financing instruments to sustainably secure the group’s solvency in the near future. The management board is confident that the talks will lead to a successful conclusion."
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