FRANKFURT (dpa-AFX) - Lufthansa now wants to keep its maintenance division completely after all. The plan to sell a minority stake in Lufthansa Technik will no longer be pursued, the MDax company announced in Frankfurt on Thursday. Instead, the growth plans developed in recent months are to be implemented independently. The Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik, Soren Stark, spoke of "very ambitious goals for the coming years", according to a company statement. The Lufthansa share turned negative following the news. At midday, the share price was still down a moderate 0.3 percent.

The Lufthansa Group actually wants to concentrate more on its airline activities and had therefore planned to sell part of its maintenance division. According to earlier information from the news agency Bloomberg, a stake of at least one fifth was in play, and the entire unit was valued at around 8 billion euros.

Financial investors are said to have already expressed interest in the spring. There are obviously good reasons for the current change in strategy and the abandonment of the sale plans: Lufthansa Technik spoke of a change in the market development for engines, which opened up new prospects for the company.

In view of continuing manufacturer problems in this area, the strategic value of Lufthansa Technik as an integral part of the Lufthansa Group has increased significantly in recent months, explained Detlef Kayser, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the maintenance company. The management expects a sustained increase in demand for engine repair and overhaul services. In addition to an increasing number of older engines in global flight operations, the higher maintenance intensity of newly developed engines is also contributing to this.

The engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, which launched an extensive recall for its geared turbofan engine in the summer, is currently experiencing problems. According to previous information, Lufthansa has more than 60 aircraft with geared turbofans. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said at the beginning of November that 146 turbines, including replacement engines, would have to be serviced throughout the Group as a result of the recall. With the help of Lufthansa Technik, the manager wants to significantly shorten the maintenance time. However, Lufthansa Technik is also likely to make money from the geared turbofan crisis as a maintenance contractor for other airlines.

Lufthansa Technik now wants to make further progress with its own growth program, called "Ambition 2030", and increase its profitability in the coming years. "Comprehensive" investments in the expansion of the core business are planned. Existing locations are to be expanded. In addition, the rapid construction of a further plant in Europe is planned in order to meet the increased demand. Acquisitions are also possible in order to expand the company's international presence. Lufthansa Technik is also planning to expand its digital business models.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa Technik is reportedly heading for significant growth in 2023. Last year, the company generated revenue of just under 5.6 billion euros with a workforce of around 22,000 people worldwide, accounting for around 17 percent of the Lufthansa Group's total revenue. Lufthansa Technik is targeting sales of more than 6 billion euros for 2023./tav/ngu/mis