KarstadtQuelle is a leading German retailer, owning a chain of department stores and mail order business.
It has been joint owner of Thomas Cook with airline Lufthansa since 2001. In December it announced a deal to take full ownership, buying out Lufthansa for €800 million.
A minority of shares in Karstadt (37%) are traded on the German stock market, with 58% owned by Madeleine Schickedanz, a descendent of the store group’s founder. The remaining 5% are in the hands of Karstadt directors.
Schickedanz has increased her shareholding from about 36% two years ago, prompting speculation in Germany that the company would be taken off the stock market.
It recorded heavy losses in 2004 following a decade of economic downturn in Germany. The company has been turned around thanks to the country’s improved fortunes and a series of business disposals. For a long time it was considered likely to sell its 50% share of Thomas Cook in a bid to revive its business.
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