4-Apr-2011 1:56 PM

Norway seeks approval to sell SAS

Norway's Trade and Industry Minister Trond Giske said the government will seek parliamentary approval for the sale of its 14.29% holding and envisages a disposal including a similar stake owned by Denmark, plus Sweden's 21% share. Mr Giske added "We are not looking for a sale of the Norwegian ownership alone. The best solution would be to find an industrial partner that can develop SAS as an airline. We see big mergers in the European and international aviation industry, and there are firms that would suit SAS well."

The Swedish Government said it remains prepared to sell its SAS stake and that any change of ownership would be done in conjunction with Norway and Denmark (Bloomberg, 02-Apr-2011). SAS' head of investor relations Sture Stoelen added that it is not holding any consolidation talks with any potential buyers, adding that the carrier expects to make a profit in 2011. A spokesman for the Danish government said there had been no change of stance from Jan-2011, when it said it would consider a sale of the SAS holding as part of a strategy to cut the budget deficit if a “good price” was offered.

Swedish Government: "Our plan remains to decrease our ownership stake in SAS when the time is right. In this context, it is appropriate to seek a new industrial solution for SAS. SAS continues to face a number of challenges which they are likely to best meet with an industrial partner as owners." Swedish Government spokesperson, Victoria Ericsson. Source: The Local, 01-Apr-2011.

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